Tag Archives: Britain

UK; Student activists condemn police spying on protest groups

Socialist Students, one of the organisations at the heart of the 2010 student movement against tuition fees, has strongly condemned recent revelations about police surveillance of political campaigns and student activists. Students from the group, who are involved in organising against cuts, fees and privatisation on campuses, have said it ‘makes a mockery’ of the democratic right to protest in Britain.  This comes a day following a student demonstration against the closure of the University of London Union, which saw a large and heavy handed police presence prevent students from entering their own campus and, following which, the president of the students’ union has been arrested.

Edmund Schluessel, Socialist Students member and NUS National Executive Councillor said:

“The videos released give categorical evidence that the police targeted groups on a political basis, including those involved in peaceful protest. This follows several revelations of police surveillance of activists, which included systematic infiltration of groups like Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) during the 1990s.The huge student movement of 2010 broke the consensus and in many ways humiliated the police. These are outrageous attacks on basic democratic freedoms and the right to protest. These surveillance techniques, coupled with heavy handed and often violent policing, are designed to limit the effectiveness of protests and intimidate demonstrators. Protest is increasingly becoming a criminalised act. Alongside this, anti-trade union laws are making strike action increasingly difficult to organise legally. Clearly, there is a deep seated fear at the heart of the establishment about the potential momentum that campaigns like these could gain. As brutal austerity intensifies and Cameron declares its permanency, it is vital that we defend the right to protest.”

Socialist Students is campaigning defend the right to protest. They plan to link up with other groups, such as YRE, to build the fight for democratic rights.

James Connolly and the Uprising of 1916

By Jim Hargreaves

One hundred years ago the Irish Citizen Army was founded in response to the brutality of strikebreaking in Ireland, which was mainly done by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. It’s aim was to defend strikers and workers from the barbaric attacks of the police.

One of the co-founders of the ICA was a man called James Connolly.

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By 1915, Britain had as much control of Ireland as it did over England. Home rule was suspended until the end of the war, and Connolly’s paper ‘The Workers’ Republic was shut down by the authorities in Dublin castle.

James Connolly was appointed acting General Secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. By now, Connolly had become very militant. He paraded units of the Irish Citizens Army in Dublin, but such displays made those who had left the Irish Volunteers and gone to the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) very anxious, as they were planning to start an uprising. They felt that such displays would attract the attention of the authorities, which would crush the uprising before it even began. In an effort to bring Connolly on board and to tame his more wild displays of militancy, the IRB took him into their confidence. Connolly was told about the planned rebellion for Easter 1916. After this, Connolly took an active part in the preparations and he was appointed Military Commander of the Republican Forces in Dublin, which encompassed the Irish Citizens Army.

When the uprising started on Monday 24th April, James Connolly was one of the seven signatories to the Proclamation. Connolly was in command of the General Post Office during the rebellion – the rebels headquarters. He was severely wounded during the fighting and was arrested once the rebels had surrendered. After the surrender, Connolly stated this:

“Don’t worry. Those of us that signed the proclamation will be shot. But the rest of you will be set free.”

He was court-martialled in a military hospital in Dublin. Charged with treason, there was no doubt as to what the verdict and punishment would be.

At his court martial, Connolly made the following statement:

“We want to break the connection between this country and the British Empire, and to establish an Irish Republic. ”

“We succeeded in proving that Irishmen are ready to die endeavouring to win for Ireland those national rights which the British government has been asking them to die, to win for Belgium. As long as that remains the case, the cause of Irish freedom is safe. I personally thank God that I have lived to see the day when thousands of Irish men and boys, and hundreds of Irish women and girls, were ready to affirm that truth, and to attest it with their lives if need be”

James Connolly was sentenced to death. Some of the employers with whom he had battled in the ‘Great Lock-Out’ of 1913, called on the British government to execute Connolly.

On May 12th,1916, Connolly was shot by firing squad. He had been taken by military ambulance to Kilmainham Prison, carried on a stretcher to a courtyard in the prison, tied to a chair and shot. With the other executed rebels, his body was put into a mass grave with no coffin. All the executions of the rebels angered many Irish people who had shown little support for the rebels during the rebellion. However, it was the circumstances of Connolly’s execution that created the most anger.

Connolly was among the few European members of the Second International who opposed, outright, World War I. This put him at odds with most of the socialist leaders of Europe, most of whom betrayed the working class by condoning an imperialist land-grab which pitted proletarian against proletarian.

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Top 10 British car manufacturers

Top 10 British car manufacturers

British manufacturing flagWell, when I say ‘British’… you know, Britain and manufacturing are no longer synonymous with each other ever since a certain Thatcher came to power and decided that Britain should put all its eggs in one finance basket.

 

Here are some familiar names:

1. Aston Martin (owned by Ford Motors) American

2. Bentley (owned by  Volkswagen Group) German

3. Jaguar (owned by Tata motors) Indian

4. Land Rover (owned by Tata motors) Indian

5. Lotus (owned by Proton) Malaysian

6. MG (owned by SAIC Motors) Chinese

7. Mini (owned by BMW) German

8. Rolls-Royce (owned by BMW) German

9. Rover (owned by Tata motors) Indian

10. Vauxhall Motors (owned by Opel) German

Daily Headline – 12/03/13

Falklands vote to remain British

Falkland Islands flagThe Falkland islanders have overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining British, only 3 people voted otherwise.

The UK government has told Argentina to take note of the outcome and respect the wishes of the islanders.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said that the referendum and its outcome has no legal validity.

Do governments ever respect the wishes of the people? And with the outcome of the vote already a sure thing for the UK it does make one wonder what the UK would have done had the residents voted to be Argentine, would the UK have just said ok, no problem?

Daily Headline – 04/03/13

UK; ditch human rights

British tory flagOnce again the Conservative party, currently in government in the UK are attacking the vulnerable in society.

This time they say they want to repeal the Human Rights laws and the European Court for Human Rights if the get elected at the next General election.

While election for the tories is unlikely (at least out-rightly) this attitude should have alarm bells ringing in the UK electorates ears. Their callous behaviour and complete disregard for the vulnerable in society and the working class, those who are more likely to be victims of human rights abuse.

It begs the question, why would anyone want to do this? When other countries ignore human rights we think of dictatorships and brutal regimes, is that what the UK has coming under a Conservative future?

If you’re not wealthy, the coalition doesn’t care about you, so stop voting for them!

Daily Headline – 02/03/13

UK right; money for troops not the poor

British Philip Hammond MP flagThe ruling Conservative party’s Philip Hammond (the Defence Secretary) has called for a cut in the welfare budget in order to maintain the number of troops.

The toss-pot went on to say that in the upcoming government budget defending the nation must be top priority. We assume that he means attacking other countries must be top priority.

He also said that a fair percentage of the cabinet want to reassess the welfare budget. No surprise, the tories want to cut the welfare state, cut money to help the disabled, the vulnerable and the sick. Got no money to look after yourself? Fuck off then!
The conservatives; the caring and compassionate party…

How about a different approach?

How about we stop attacking other countries, dramatically reduce the military budget, join the EU army to ensure that real and genuine security is not compromised and use the leftover funds to increase the standard of living for the British public.

Daily Headline – 23/02/13

Capitalism in decay; UK loses AAA credit rating

British austerity flagThe UK has lost its triple A credit rating after it was downgraded by Moody’s.

The list of countries with a AAA credit rating is ever shrinking as the global capitalist economy continues to struggle.

All of Scandinavia continues to rate as AAA with the 3 main credit rating agencies (S&P, Moody’s & Fitch), here’s a sample of how some other counties are faring:

Standards & Poor’s

AAA – Australia, Canada, some of Europe
AA+ – UK, US, Austria, France
AA – New Zealand, Belgium
AA- – China, Japan, Czech Rep
A+ – South Korea, Israel
BBB – Brazil, Russia

United Kingdom

In the UK Shadow chancellor Ed Balls (Labour Party) said the decision was a “humiliating blow to a prime minister and chancellor who said keeping our AAA rating was the test of their economic and political credibility”

While Labour’s contribution to the economic situation we find ourselves in the UK should not be forgotten (selling of gold reserves at a very low point, keeping essential services in private hands and introducing private finance initiatives in the National Health Service etc) the Conservatives (tory) and their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats (Lib Dems) are making a bad situation worse.

The British public must wake up and and ditch the main 3 parties who have continually ruled and screwed over the country, we need change and we need it now!