Block the Bridge – Block the Bill

September 24, 2011

The government is just weeks away from destroying the NHS forever.

This is an emergency.

On Sunday October 9th, UK Uncut will be on Westminster Bridge to block the bill.

IHOOPS will be joining them.

On one side of Westminster Bridge is Parliament. On 7th September, MPs in the Commons voted for the end of the NHS as we know it. Yet the coalition’s Health and Social Care bill was not in the Lib Dem manifesto. It was not in the Tory manifesto. None of us voted for this.

On the opposite side of the bridge is St Thomas’ Hospital, one of Britain’s oldest medical institutions. If the bill passes, hospitals like St Thomas’ will be sold to private corporations, the staff put on private payrolls and beds given over to private patients. Despite the government’s lies, this bill represents the wholesale privatization of the NHS and, with it, the destruction of the dream of comprehensive healthcare provided equally to all.

On October 12th, the Lords have a chance to vote down the bill, and a huge Liberal Democrat rebellion is brewing. We have one last chance to save our NHS.

On Sunday 9th October, just three days before the Lords vote, join UK Uncut in a spectacular act of mass civil disobedience to block the bill. By blocking Westminster Bridge we symbolically block the bill from getting from Parliament to our hospitals. Yes, it will be disruptive. Yes, it will stop the traffic. But this is an emergency and we have to shout as loud as we can.

Get to the middle of Westminster Bridge shortly before 1pm. When Big Ben strikes one, pick one of the tactics below and help block the bridge:

* Bring some fake blood and play dead
* Bring hospital radio to the bridge with some music and comedy
* Bring a nurse for a resuscitation skill-share
* Dress up in scrubs and perform an operation
* Enjoy a picnic overlooking Parliament
* Share stories about the the NHS
* Invite a friend from across the pond to describe the reality of a privatised healthcare system
* Invite older generations to describe a time before universal healthcare
* (if you’ve got other good ideas, email them to ukuncut@gmail.com)

Invite everyone you know to the Facebook event, and make sure you click ‘attending’ – the action will only go ahead if 1000 or more people plan to attend. We’ll be in close contact with St. Thomas’ before and during the protest to ensure access for emergency vehicles.

We will not let a coalition of millionaire politicians and private health lobbyists destroy our NHS.

Be on Westminster Bridge for 1pm on October 9th and together let’s block this bill from getting to our hospitals.

See you on the bridge.

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ATOS recruitment fair, 30th September

September 23, 2011

Hello all,

This is just to alert you to the intention of ATOS to run a recruitment fair at the Business Design Centre in Islington from noon til 6pm on the 30th September.

Here is some more information about ATOS, and a case study, if you’re interested, and we’re certain many of you will be.

There will be a meeting at Disability Action In Islington on Tuesday 27th of September at 6.30pm to plan for the event.

See you there,

IHOOPS

The Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=181940165210541


Report from the Islington People’s Assembly

September 21, 2011

An IHOOPS activist reports from the People’s Assembly –

On Saturday, Caxton House hosted IHOOPS’ Islington People’s Assembly. Over 80 people attended to be inspired by a range of speakers and participate in workshops covering the many areas in which the Tory cuts are impacting on the local community.

The day was kicked off by performance poet and local resident John Hegley who entertained the Assembly with songs and poetry.

The speakers: Think Globally, Act Locally

The opening session – ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’- was introduced by speakers from the unions including Peter Kavanagh from UNITE and Sean Vernell from UCU, who called for activists to get behind the strikes on Nov 30th.

Other speakers included local MP Jeremy Corbyn, Lee Jasper from BARAC and Costas Lapavistas who explained how the crisis which began in 2008 continues, threatening even more pain for working people unless resisted. Lapavistas also spoke of the need for alternatives to capitalist crisis.

The debate: How should we organise to defend local services and jobs?

The Assembly continued with a debate between Catherine West, Labour Leader of Islington council, and IHOOPS Secretary, Suzanne Jeffery, about how to defend local services. Suzanne called on the council to defy the government and set a budget which did not involve cuts and to begin a campaign to organise the local community and unions around the defence of such a budget. Some speakers argued that defiance was not possible as the government would come in and run the council, however many speakers from the floor argued such a campaign was necessary, as a “dented shield “ policy could not defend the most vulnerable in the community. Speakers from the floor also urged the council leader to stand shoulder to shoulder with IHOOPS in building for the strikes on the 30th November.

In the break, Sunnie Dae played several of her anti-cuts tunes – you will find videos for these in the post below.

The workshops

The next section of the Assembly saw activists attend workshops covering issues on education, health, disabilities, pensions, racism, housing, the environment and arts and leisure. Each workshop was a great opportunity for local activists to work together and produce a series of campaigning demands and actions reflecting how to defend local services and what kind of services that we would like to see. Afterwards, the demands and actions were read out to the Assembly and added to the IHOOPS manifesto which will be developed in the next few months into a campaigning pamphlet.

A taster of the actions and demands:

– Demand that Islington council create a forum for all those involved in education to work together across sectors

– No cuts to winter fuel payments to pensioners

– Organise Defend Islington NHS conference in 2012, focus on organizing grassroots (not just big name speakers)

– ITUC want to hold a public meeting with tenants unions and Defend Council Housing – Set up Islington Defend Council Housing group

– Encourage as many people as possible to sign up for Boris Johnson’s conference on 20/10/2011, 9-4pm, on how ‘great’ the Tories have been at dealing with provision for disabled people

– Demand that the council endorse the One Million Climate Jobs report

– Calling for support for the establishment of Unite Against Fascism group in Islington, and in London Met

The closing plenary: Alternatives to privatisation and austerity

The Assembly finished with a final plenary with speakers talking about the way ahead. Weyman Bennett from UAF reminded people of the potential for victory, particularly after demonstrators had beaten the EDL in Tower Hamlets recently. John McDonnell finished the assembly arguing that the tide had turned and that people are no longer willing to live in fear, instead they are angry and ready to fight. He called on activists to join with others during the strikes in November to make the country “ungovernable”.

Some comments from those who attended:

“Excellent event today. Really glad I came” – Pete Beadle

“A great day for Islington and its people from now on we must build and expand” – Padraig Lynch

“A fabulously productive day. Made all the more brilliant by the always hilarious and poignant John Hegly and his awesome accompanist Andrew Bailey, dancing around in front of Lee Jasper and Jeremy Corbyn bashing an inflated rubber glove a’ top his head. Great day” – Steve Parry


Songs by Sunnie Dae

September 19, 2011

That’s a Cut! Song about the Coalition Cuts

Wriggle: Song about MP’s expenses


An Invitation to attend the Islington People’s Assembly

September 8, 2011

Dear IHOOPS Supporter,

We would like to invite you to attend the Islington Peoples Assembly on Saturday Sept 17th, 12.30pm-5pm, at Caxton House, St John’s way, N19 3RQ.

We hope this is an opportunity for people to come together to discuss how to stop the government’s devastating cuts.

We have an excellent range of speakers, including: Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary, NUT: Dr Brar, NHS surgeon and campaigner; and Weyman Bennett, Joint Secretary, Unite Against Fascism.

We also want the Assembly to be an opportunity to discuss an alternative to cuts and austerity. The workshops will aim to produce an alternative sets of demands for Islington.

We hope the Assembly will bring together many different people who are affected by the cuts, are campaigning against them and have ideas about the alternative to them. We hope you are able to attend.

Timetable

12.30-13.00 – Opening and Keynote speakers (including Ellie O’Hagan from UK Uncut, Jeremy Corbyn MP and Costas Lapavitsas from SOAS)

13.00-13.45 – Debate, ‘How should we organise to defend our local services and jobs’ (with Council leader Catherine West and IHOOPS activist Suzanne Jeffery)

13.45-14.45 – Workshops:

– Education for All: schools, colleges and universities

– Decent Pensions for All: the Fight for Dignity in Old Age

– The Attack on the NHS and Mental Health Services: Keep the NHS Public

– Housing: How the Cuts are Breaking Up Communities

– Attacks on Disability Benefits and Services: How to Resist

– One Million Climate Jobs: Solving the Environmental and Economic Crises

– The Cuts, Racism and Homophobia: the Fight for Equality

– Arts and leisure: Why the Cuts are No Fun

14.45-15.15 – Break (refreshments will be available)

15.15-16.15 – Reports from workshops

16.15-17.00 – Build an Islington People’s Manifesto from the results of the workshops, and Closing Speakers (including John McDonnell MP and Dot Gibson from the National Pensioners Convention)

To register in advance email:  islingtonhoops@gmail.com

Find the event on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116578225107234


Report on the Anti-EDL demo, 3rd September

September 7, 2011

Merilyn Moos reports for IHOOPS from the anti-EDL demo:

The day was ours.

The victory over the English Defence League last Saturday was a real achievement. Thousands of anti-fascists, trade unionists and members of the local community marched through Whitechapel and helped stop the EDL in its bid to demonstrate in Tower Hamlets. They had bragged that they were coming to the heart of Tower Hamlets – “marching into the lion’s den” in the multiracial, multicultural borough. Despite a national mobilisation, they failed utterly. Only around 600 members of EDL made it to their final rally point – at Aldgate, crucially outside the Tower Hamlets borough boundary. Between 1500 and 2000 joined the Unite Against Fascism and United East End anti-EDL demonstration.

The EDL had nowhere to go. The RMT railworkers’ union prevented the organisation’s planned “muster” at Liverpool Street station, by threatening to close the station down if the violent racists were allowed to gather there. They had already been refused any venue in Tower Hamlets, including Sainsbury’s car park. The EDL’s fallback plan to meet at pubs in Euston was scuppered when the pubs declared they would not host the racists either. Their journey south was then held up when RMT members closed the tube station. Plus, Tommy Robinson, the leader of the EDL, was arrested.

When the EDL had left the area, the anti-racist protestors marched in their thousands back down Whitechapel Road, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Black and white unite and fight, smash the EDL”.

Many groups supported the Unite Against Fascism demo. The speakers included CWU deputy general secretary Tony Kearns, East London Mosque’s Dilowar Khan, former MEP Glyn Ford, veteran local antifascist Phil Maxwell, Terry Stewart of LGBT group Out East, former council leader Phil Maxwell amongst many others. Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone sent a message of support, saying: “This is a fitting response to those who peddle hatred and fear.”

We need to show the greatest possible opposition to the racists and fascists. We stopped them in Tower Hamlets. Now we need to ensure that they do not threaten Islington’s multiracial, multicultural community.

The EDL will try to exploit high unemployment, youth disaffection, increasing homelessness and the attack on social services and the NHS. ‘Look at us,’ they will say. ‘We have the answer.’

We know where their answer leads. We must not let that happen here.

 

An Islington UAF group is in the procerss of being set-up. For further information, contact gabriella: gabriella@blueyonder.co.uk


Update on the national demo against the EDL

September 1, 2011

Important – New assembly point
The  corner of Vallance Road and Whitechapel Road, London E1 (near East London Mosque) Islington UAF supporters, trade unionists, IHOOPS activists etc are meeting at 10.30am @ Highbury & Islington tube to travel to the assembly point. Please bring banners.

UAF and United East End is calling on antiracists and antifascists across the country to mobilise for the demo against the English Defence League in Tower Hamlets, for this Saturday 3 September.

The leader of the English Defence League has confirmed that the EDL intends to go ahead with its planned demo in Tower Hamlets on Saturday 3rd September. EDL leader Stephen Yaxley Lennon (AKA “Tommy Robinson”) told BBC London his group would “still show up” in the multiracial, multicultural London borough, despite the home secretary’s ban on marching. He said: “We’ll have a static demonstration and we’ll have our voices heard,” he told BBC London.

On its facebook page the racist organisation said:  Tower Hamlets demo is NOT banned. What they have done is banned our ‘march’ but we WILL still have a static demo. Remember that we have to walk to ‘muster points’ and from those muster points we have to walk to the demo area.

The EDL’s statement makes it clear why we need the biggest possible mobilisation for the antiracist counter-demo called by UAF and United East End for Saturday 3rd September

 Speaking at a UAF/United East End meeting hosted by Tower Hamlets Trade Unions, CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said:

‘I’m proud of our union’s association with UAF and we are sponsoring the event on 3 September.  We need everyone out on Saturday, as many people as we can. We’ll be out in great numbers and we’ll push back the EDL on Saturday’.

 Sign the petition 

UAF also believes it is wrong for the home secretary to have extended the ban on marching to all organisations. It is appalling that the government is treating antiracists and the host of trade unions, local community organisations and faith groups in Tower Hamlets in the same way as the racists and fascists of the EDL.

Please sign the petition, and pass on the link – http://is.gd/sept3petition – to everyone you know.

See you there

IHOOPS