Monday, December 20, 2010

Camden United Against Cuts Public Meeting, Monday 10 January, 7pm, Camden Town Hall.

Following on from a series of anti-cuts activities in 2010, Camden Trades Council in conjunction with other local organisations has set up Camden United Against the Cuts  to co-ordinate work agains the cuts, with a launch meeting on 10 January at which Frank Dobson MP will be speaking (see flyer). Comrades are urged to encourage organisations to affiliate to the campaign (contact camdenunitedagainstcuts@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and use the petition.
For more details click here:
Comrades living in Camden are strongly urged to attend this meeting if at all possible. It is vital that Communists living in Camden contribute to this growing local campaign to the maximum possible extent.

North London Morning Star Burns supper – 29 January 2011

North London Morning Star Burns supper is on Saturday 29th January (the same day as the Islington Hands Off Our Public Services campaign demonstration) 6.30 for a 7 start.

It's at the lovely Italian trade union centre at 124 Canonbury Road N1 2UT opposite Highbury and Islington tube station across the roundabout.
We have a piper and some Chilean music plus guest speakers
And the usual traditional food, drink, poetry and singing
Tickets will need to be booked and paid for in advance.
Watch the Morning Star for adverts with more details
We'll be looking for helpers (and Andy will follow up to confirm all):
·         cooking
·         bringing drinks and food
·         preparing room
·         serving
·         reading a poem or singing
For more info and to book a place email or 07771 612 592

IHOOPS takes cold cuts fight to Pickles

Islington Hands Of Our Public services (I-HOOPS) is fighting the good fight here in what is, despite the surrounding wealth, one of the poorest boroughs in Britain.  On Tuesday, 14 December, 20 campaigners held a freezing cold alternative carol singing outside St James Church Clerkenwell, with the local tories inside.  They had invited Eric Pickles MP as their guest but we are pleased to report, as stated by the non-kettling bobbies who kept us out of the ticket only do, that Pickles was unable to attend 'due to parliamentary duties'. One up for us.

Then on Wednesday we supported a Unison march to the local town hall in protest at 300 job losses, many in essential caring services.  Around 500 braved the cold and rain walking down Upper Street to the toots of many motorists.  Jeremy Corbyn spoke of the lead shown by the students and the need to build for the 26th March TUC sponsored demonstration.  The council leader Catherine West had the more difficult job of calling for unity against the Government while her council was starting with the cuts.  She was cheered, however, when she supported a call for a national conference of councillors plus trade unions and foreign anti-cuts campaigners.  Gary Heather, chair of the Islington Trades Council called for support for the I-HOOPS demonstration against the cuts on 29th January.  Many other trade union and community activists spoke in a rally that showed great unity and potential for growth.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Camden Trades Council Lobby of Council - 1 December

Camden Trades Council is holding a rally against the Council's cuts tomorrow (1t December) at 6pm outside Camden Town Hall. Comrades and friends are urged to attend if possible. You can find full details of the rally at the Camden Trades Council website:

Download a flyer here:
 Camden Trades Council, Camden NUT, Camden Unison,
The Con-Dem Coalition is intent on forcing local councils to implement the most severe spending cuts in living memory. The cuts will slash nearly £90 million from the Council’s funds over the next three years.

Housing benefit caps could result in the eviction of hundreds of households from the borough, while other policy changes will push rents to 80 percent of market rates in Housing Association properties.

The cuts and other Con-Dem measures will hit the poorest hard, changing Camden’s make-up and tearing the heart out of the borough.

The lobby of the Council has been called by
and Holborn & St Pancras Constituency Labour Party.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Coalition of Resistance Conference - 27 November

With the tempo of popular protest against the cuts rising, comrades are reminded to register for the Coalition of Resistance conference on Saturday 27 November at the Camden centre, Bidborough Street, which is being supported by the People's Charter. It's important that this conference has a good Communist presence to carry our analysis, our strategic vision and our experience of working in broad movements into this national initiative. If you are going, please notify the branch by emailing us at You can register for the conference online here:


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Next branch meeting - Monday 6 December

We are continuing the theme of campaigning against the Con-Dem cuts with a joint meeting with Hackney and Tower Hamlets branches. This meeting will be open to members, close friends and allies only. We will be discussing local campaigning against cuts and how to develop an area-wide Communist approach to broaden out and maximise the impact of these campaigns. We will also finish with a social in the nearby Compton Arms. 
Please do your very best to make this meeting. If you can only make room in your schedules for one meeting, in the near future, make it *this* one. The accelerating class struggle needs Communists to play a leading role. Each meeting we have is producing more and better initiatives, but if we are to maximise our impact, we need more Communists in more campaigns to be contributing and taking these initiatives back into their struggles.
The meeting will take place at our regular venue, the INCA-CGIL building, 124 Canonbury Road N1 2UT (nearest tube: Highbury and Islington) at 7.30pm.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fighting the cuts in Islington – Discussion led by Mick Gilgunn from Islington Trades Council and Islington Hands Off Our Public Services

Mick Gilgunn opened the meeting by explaining the recent history of the revival of the Trades Council, with assistance from the GLATUC. The Trades Council really got going properly with the escalating campaign against the public service cuts however, becoming part of the campaign to Defend the Whittington A+E department. The Trades Council then linked up with the DWC and the Right to Work Campaign to form Islington Hands Off Our Public Services (IHOOPS).
IHOOPS maintains a politically balanced steering group with representatives from across the coalition and Mick stressed that he considered this essential to encourage the broadest possible participation. Successful campaigning would depend on reaching out into the community, into non-unionised, non-active sections of the working class and mobilizing them, meaning that political balance was critical.
Mick explained that IHOOPS now undertook regular stalls and petitioning activities and more than 7 people every week contacting them to get more involved.
Mick stressed that he saw the cuts as an extension of the Thatcherite project and related the story of his own politicization during this period.
There was then a general discussion about the key features of cuts campaigning. Key points included:
1.       The narrow economic basis of the drive towards public service cuts, with Osborne’s budget basically doing the work of a narrow section of British society centred on finance capital in the City of London and monopoly capital, particularly those trading in services.
2.       The importance of seeing the CSR as part of a broad legislative programme by the Coalition to open up services, inaugurating a new round of privatisation and financialisation of social life, in spite of the fact that it was the architecture of this financialisation that had failed so spectacularly in 2008.
3.       The consequent importance of orienting cuts campaigns toward long-term movement building, rather than one-off, short-term campaigning objectives. It was also stressed that there was a political danger to these campaigns in ultra-left groups seeking to target the campaigns mainly against Labour councils as part of short-term electoral or party-building projects.
4.       Several strategic objectives for cuts campaigns were identified, including,
i)                    maximum possible protection of working people in council budgets/rent policies in the short term.
ii)                   building a working-class led movement over a four/five year period
iii)                 challenging the ‘common sense’ that there is no alternative to the cuts
5.       It was noted that the pursuit of objective i) could involve a range of tactics including pressuring  Councillors to shelter working class people as far as possible (although it was noted that in the event of illegal budgets or resignations, council executives would assume control and implement budgets regardless) making public statements to repudiate the cuts and concentrating fire on the role of national governments.
6.       It was suggested that cuts campaigns might seek meetings with councillors to discuss likely future developments at local level in order to coordinate where possible and assess tactics in each case.
7.       It was stressed that propaganda must contain common sense appeals to alternatives, from the role of progressive taxation in tacking the deficit to the need for an alternative economic agenda.
8.       It was agreed that there was a role of cuts campaigns in coordinating social housing tenants responses to the attacks in the CSR.
9.       Finally, it was agreed to invite comrades from Hackney and Tower Hamlets branch to the nex branch meeting and social to discuss local cuts campaigning in the region.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Understanding and Fighting the Cuts - The party's position: a branch presentation

On the day that George Osborne finally unveiled his cuts, the Communist Party’s emergency statement announced that the barbarians were at the gate. That pretty much summed up what I think most of us immediately felt and several non-communist friends of mine said how much that expression resonated with them.
The party’s statement was also unequivocal in declaring this an open class attack  on working people and on the welfare state.
Around a million workers face unemployment as a direct consequence of these cuts. 500,000 public sector jobs will go immediately, while even the Office for Business Responsibility has calculated that this will lead to the loss of 700,000 jobs in the private sector.
The Local Government Association estimates that 100,000 jobs will go across councils.
Teaching unions say 40,000 teachers will lose their jobs while a similar number of lecturers face the same fate in higher education.
And of course the cuts will have a devastating impact on those who depend on them.
The TUC’s research into the impact of the cuts in public services estimates that working class families will face cuts equivalent to between 13 and 20% of their annual income, according to their means.
The caps on housing benefit, coupled with the cuts to capital spending budgets in social housing, the end of secure tenancies in council housing and the introduction of effective market rents in housing associations will produce ghettos and social cleansing in our inner cities, particularly London – you know it’s an extreme measure when even Boris stirs from his torpor to oppose it.
You don’t have to be a communist to recognise the CSR and, indeed almost every major piece of forthcoming legislation, as attacks on the poor.
Even the traditionally right-wing Institute of Fiscal Studies has deemed it a regressive attack on the poorest in society. According to the Institute, poorer families with children have the most to fear from the Bullingdon slasher.
 At a deeper level, the CSR, together with the planned legislation in the NHS, higher education and other areas represent a new round of privatisation in public services, the final boot sale, if you like, flogging off the remains of the post-war dream.
Why is this happening?
If  you believe George Osborne, this is about staving off a Greek-style attack on our credit rating and restoring fiscal prudence after the years of binge spending under Labour. If you listen to Alan Johnson, there’s not much opposition to the principle of deficit cutting, it’s just a matter of timing and distribution of cutting. Pretty cold comfort there.  
Yet our deficit is currently 70% of GDP, lower than for a 30 year period in the middle of the twentieth century. It does not need to be paid off now or in ten years to defend the economy, if a different approach is taken to economic growth – Ed Balls managed to work that out. And what’s more, the deficit could be paid off by a completely different approach to taxation: a wealth tax, raising corporation tax, a Robin Hood tax – a combination of progressive taxes on the wealthiest in society would do the trick.
So why is this not being considered and why the full-scale attack on the public sector?
For the Communist Party, the key to understanding George Osborne’s CSR lies in understanding what’s really happening in the economic crisis, and this also is the key to building a successful movement to challenge it.
For the Communist Party, the financial crisis was not an abberation caused by the Banking sector. Instead it was a product of the systemic tendencies toward crisis at the heart of capitalism, combined with the growing dominance of monopoly and finance capital over economic life.
For Communists, capitalism is a system with crisis at its heart, driven towards over-accumulation of capital, over-production of commodities, dislocation of markets and immiseration of the working class by a contradictory need to generate profit, far beyond the ability of capitalist societies to do so.
The anarchic competition that characterises capitalist expansion also generates a tendency toward the centralisation of capital as one capitalist kills many, creating a tendency toward the creation of great monopoly companies, dominating whole fields of economic life. In Britain, one only needs to think of the great oil and mineral extraction companies like BP and Shell, for example. The great monopolies use their domination of resources and markets to hold prices of their products up, forcing capital of all sizes to increase the exploitation of their own workforces.
Finally, the dominance of monopoly capitalism also saw the emergence of finance capital. From being a means of facilitating takeovers and mergers, the big banks, insurance funds and trusts became sources of profitable investment in themselves. As capital seeks more profitable investments, it drives towards the highest returns over the shortest period, often abandoning investment in industrial capital or the production of real commodities for trading in financial products.
These tendencies were given their freest rein from the late 1970s, in the form of neoliberal economics. Neoliberalism was the ideology that the market was the most efficient way of distributing resources effectively, but what it concealed was an agenda driven by the interests of monopoly capital and finance capital in the UK and USA.
·         Free trade in capital permitted the even greater exporting of capital abroad and facilitated the growth of a trade in financial products on top of this: securities, derivatives and other products that are in essence bets on future stock prices and claims to profits as yet unmade.
·         Privatisation and attacks on the welfare state provided banks and investment vehicles with new speculative investments and facilitated the growth of monopolies in services, with profit based on the steady draining of tax revenue into shareholders pockets.
·         State sponsored attacks on workers rights, coupled with the assertion of free markets for capital and labour and the restructuring of capital led to the creation of flexible workforces, lean management, the undermining of trade unions and the exporting of jobs, all raising the exploitation of working people.
British capitalism saw a particularly aggressive experiment in neoliberalism. Under the Thatcher governments in particular, the City of London was given even greater dominance over the economy, industry was starved of long-term investment to redevelop, going into exponential decline, foreign companies bought up British companies and banks, while UK capital was invested overseas, there was an unprecedented state-led attack on the organised working class, while privatisation allowed finance capital and services monopolies to make deep inroads into the public sector.
None of this was substantively reversed by New Labour. The result was the ever greater financialisation of capital and social life in Britain. Industrial capital came to be dominated by ‘private equity’ style investment, with its concentration on short-term shareholder value; workers wages were expropriated by finance capital in the form of privatised pensions markets and a speculative mortgage market; privatisation entered every sphere of the public sector in various forms.
When the crisis broke, with the collapse of the speculative market in dodgy mortgages to US workers, the financial sector was propped up with a massive subvention of taxpayers money, showing in a moment how monopoly and finance capital depend on the state and how the state has come to represent a tiny fraction of society.
In this context, George Osborne’s budget represents the latest and most brazen attempt by the representatives of monopoly and finance capital to resolve this crisis in their favour and at our expense. At the heart of the CSR, the NHS white paper, the education bill, the Browne report and various other pending pieces of legislation lies a programme to cut the deficit to reassure UK, EU and international finance markets and to offload the costs of this onto the working class through regressive taxation, more attacks on organised labour, savage cuts to public services and a new round of privatisation – all in the name of restoring the speculative profits of finance and monopoly capital.
No part of our lives will remain untouched by this latest, most savage attack. It will have a disastrous effect on working people. It will also affect large sections of the private business community however – witness the FOSB’s dismay at the CSR.
What does this mean for us, here and now, fighting the cuts?
We have an obvious and immediate priority:
 To build vibrant, broad based local campaigns to protect public services and working people from the symptoms of this attack wherever they manifest themselves. These campaigns must draw on the broadest sections of society in our communities – it must be a people’s resistance, but with the working class at the heart.
Organised labour has a critical organising and coordinating role to play. If it is to play that role we have to make sure that there is a link between trades unions, resisting the attacks on jobs and conditions and the working-class communities that depend on these services. The trades councils have a key role to play in this struggle.
But if the campaigns are to win anything more than partial, temporary and fleeting reprieves for individual services in the face of an unremitting offensive, we must link them up and build them into a movement.
That means giving them a coherence based on a common analysis of what is happening and what’s wrong and then a common sense that there is an alternative, that we know where we have to go.
There are two national initiatives that are giving expression to this, linking up local campaigns and giving them a common focus – the Coalition of Resistance and the People’s Charter. The CoR has already mobilised a broad, left-oriented response, based on a common understanding of the class orientation of the attack, while the People’s Charter represents an attempt to project the alternative to the cuts consensus at a common-sense level. The Charter includes six points around which it is possible to unify the broad trade union movement and now also potentially, the anti-cuts movement, and which mount a challenge to the dominance of monopoly and finance capital.
The Communist Party urges the maximum support for these initiatives and is working to unify them as far as possible.
However, the Party also argues that with their growing confidence, the labour and working-class movements of resistance must mount a more fundamental challenge to the dominance of monopoly and finance capital. That’s why we outline a Left Wing programme and an alternative economic strategy that have as their main target, the specific nature of British capitalism and in particular its dependence on parasitic finance capitalism. It is a programme for cumulative advance toward democratic control over capital through publicly controlled investment in new industries, public ownership of finance capital and the mass media. In this way, the Party argues, the road can be genuinely opened up for socialism. But perhaps more importantly, for today, without such a strategy, without a fundamental challenge to the basis of British monopoly capitalism, anything we win today will be stolen back from us tomorrow. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Welcome to the blogsite of North London Communist Party of Britain

This is the blogsite of North London Communist Party of Britain. Here you will find the latest information about current and forthcoming meetings and activities as well as reports of past meetings and links to local campaigns.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leaflet for 1 November meeting

Communist Party Open Meeting

After the CSR:
Understanding and
fighting the cuts

Con-Dems slash public spending in Britain

Government declares war on poor
Come and discuss the current crisis, the immediate priorities for resistance and help build the alternative
Monday 1st November at the INCA-CGIL building,
124 Canonbury Road N1 2UT (nearest tube: Highbury and Islington).