Next meeting and current activityThe next ISN meeting will take place on Saturday 4th October at 12pm. Venue: The Meeting Place, Langley Lane, Vauxhall, London. More details will follow.
Members of the ISN in collaboration with other socialists have just launched a new web-based journal, The Project. You can find it at http://www.socialistproject.org. All donations towards running costs gratefully received.
Join the ISN
- ISN Bulletin 4: LU September National Council
- Agenda and Papers for Left Unity national Council meeting September 20th
- An invitation to all independent socialists to the Independent Socialist Network AGM
- Details of LU Policy Conference Nov 15th
- TUSC Steering Committee continues its General Election plans
- An invitation to all independent socialists to the Independent Socialist Network AGM on
- TUSC Steering Committee continues its General Election plans on
- TUSC Steering Committee continues its General Election plans on
- Left Unity discusses left electoral challenges – but no decisions on them reached! on
- Join Network on
Left Unity National Council Meeting Saturday 20 September 2014 12-5pm
Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham B4 6AF
Agenda item 1: Minutes of the June NC Meeting and matters arising
Left Unity National Council Saturday 7th June 2014 – London
Report from the TUSC Steering Committee, 27th August 2014
PRESENT: Mike Sargent (RMT); Paula Mitchell (SP); Pete McLaren (ISN); Charlie Kimber (SWP); Will McMahon (ISN); Clive Heemskerk (Nominating Officer); and Dave Nellist (Chair).
TUSC’S REGISTERED DESCRIPTIONS
A briefing paper had been circulated on relations with the independent anti-cuts councillors in Leicester and Hull. It was agreed to endorse the arrangements regarding next year’s elections outlined in the report and, arising from this, to add Leicester Independent Councillors Against Cuts as a TUSC registered description. This would be used with emblem No 3, TUSC Against Cuts
DISCUSSIONS WITH OTHER GROUPS
It was hoped that, by the next meeting, separate proposals for Daymer and TUSC supporters on the NUT executive to select representatives from amongst themselves to sit on the TUSC steering committee would have been confirmed
PREPARATION FOR THE 2015 ELECTIONS
(i) Directory of seats
Clive Heemskerk had circulated a ‘Directory of local councils with elections in 2015 and parliamentary constituencies’, and it was agreed to send it to TUSC election agents, and to place it on the TUSC website.
(ii) ‘Appeal for candidates’ broadsheet
The TUSC A3 broadsheet appealing for candidates to come forward for 2015, circulated before the meeting, was agreed with some drafting amendments, for an initial print-run of 30,000.
(iii) Amending the TUSC parliamentary candidate application form
The draft of a new TUSC parliamentary candidate application form, circulated before the meeting, was agreed after a couple of wording amendments and will be posted on the website.
(iv) Follow-up to the proposal for a National Election Fund
There was considerable discussion about the need for a national appeal, to pay, amongst other things, for any TV broadcast, as well as the need to encourage local fund raising towards the £1,500 minimum each TUSC Parliamentary candidate would need. After hearing from constituent organisations it was confirmed that a 2015 National Election Fund would be launched, including for national publicity costs and possible payments towards parliamentary deposits, but with details to be finalised at the next meeting.
(v) The 2015 election platforms
The 2015 local election core policies platform was agreed as it appeared in the draft ‘appeal for candidates’ broadsheet. It was agreed work needed doing on updating the general election platform: this would be an urgent priority at the next SC meeting.
(vi) TUSC election conference
It was agreed that a TUSC election conference similar to this year’s format would be organised for either the 24th or 31st of January. Clive Heemskerk was authorised to book a venue and produce an initial notice leaflet before the next SC meeting.
DISCUSSIONS WITH OTHER ORGANISATIONS
(i) Correspondence with Left Unity
Left Unity’s reply to TUSC’s letter of July 7th was circulated to the meeting. In it, LU Nat Sec Kate Hudson explained that LU would be prepared to meet with TUSC once it had developed its electoral strategy, but only to discuss clash avoidance, not to be part of a left coalition as TUSC had suggested. There was some discussion on the implications of this, especially as it was LU Conference policy to be part of the largest possible left challenge in the General Election, and that LU had never, at any level, rejected the possibility of being part of any left coalition. It was felt every effort should be made to make the left more united. Following the discussion, it was agreed to send a response that, while welcoming LU’s intention to “avoid standing in the same place where possible”, expressed our disappointment that they were “not planning to enter into any electoral coalition” either through participation in TUSC or the creation of a new umbrella – with the aim to send an agreed text to Left Unity before their national council meeting on September 20th.
(ii) Letter to Tower Hamlets First
A draft of a letter to Tower Hamlets First to explore the possibility of opening a dialogue with them – circulated before the meeting – was agreed without amendment.
The finance report circulated at the meeting was agreed.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
It was agreed that the date of the next Steering Committee should be Wednesday 1st October, at Unity House, with a 4pm start.
Pete McLaren 30/08/14
The Annual General Meeting of the Independent Socialist Network will take place on Saturday 4 October at 12 Noon at The Meeting Place in Vauxhall, London.
All independent socialists are welcome.
Voting will be open to ISN members. You can join the ISN here: http://www.independentsocialistnetwork.org/join-network/
More details to follow.
That famous first casualty of war is these days sustained before the first rocket is launched. The truth of the most recent Gaza incursion is now a prisoner of war in Israel, and its release will take some time. Purportedly because the tunnels have now been destroyed, a truce of sorts has been concluded. As was once said of the Romans, ‘They make a desert and they call it peace’.
After operation ‘Cast Lead’ in late 2008/early 2009, in which UN shelters and stores, schools, hospitals, ambulances, and a university were bombarded and civilians were targeted by the Israel Defence Force (IDF), there were recriminations and investigations, and we can expect these once again. The investigation of themselves by the IDF will once more find honest mistakes, unavoidable collateral damage and Palestinian perfidy of ‘human shields’. In the recently concluded military operation, named with breathtaking chutzpah, ‘Protective Edge’, over 1,900 Palestinians have been killed, more than 73% of them civilians and some 450 of them children. Three United Nations schools were bombarded in Gaza over ten days by the IDF − with civilians sheltering in them.
It is a war crime to target a school like that, to target civilians deliberately, to target a hospital, to target ambulances. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the most recent school bombardment as ‘a moral outrage and a criminal act’. Some, apparently unconditional, supporters of the Israeli state would say that this is failing to recognise Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’. Yet any such right is heavily circumscribed in international law by the boundaries of proportionality and the duty to protect civilians. Not even Israel’s staunchest ally, arms supplier, and frequent user of that phrase, the United States, will defend the attacks on schools, hospitals and UN shelters.
We have heard so much about the tunnels and the rockets from Israel’s official spokespeople. The killing of children and other civilians is rationalised by Israel’s need for defence against them. This well distributed mantra is part of ‘Psyops’: the psychological operations that are part of modern warfare and amount to what used to be called propaganda. In World War 1, tunnels were used to plant mines under enemy lines; such is a tunnel that needs defending against. These Palestinian tunnels have no such offensive purpose: at least there has never been any evidence that they do. The only ones detonating high explosives in them have been the IDF. The Gazan tunnels have a far more plausible explanation. Gaza is under blockade – unlawfully, as it happens, but very effectively – by land and sea. How then, can sufficient means of living be brought in? That’s what the tunnels are primarily for.
The other purpose of the tunnels is defensive. Consider a comparison. It is a fairly well known fact that Havana is underscored by a complex of tunnels: a legacy of Cuba’s constant threats and indeed attacks from the USA. It’s a strategy the Cubans learnt from the Vietnamese experience of defending themselves from the same aggressor. In both cases, the tunnels were defensive. Cuba was hardly going to attack its neighbours through them! There were even provisions for classrooms and crèches. Perhaps the Palestinians will in future need to put their schools underground if their children are to be safe from missiles and shells? I am not saying that the Palestinian tunnels have not been used to move and store weapons (as Cuban ones also have been); it’s logical that they would be. I am arguing that their purpose is quite obviously defensive, and it is the defence of a people under encirclement, blockade, and repeated attack. Israel, that is to say, is not defending itself against tunnels.
Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ from rockets is also a complete red herring. For all of 2014 to July 14, there had been but one person killed by a rocket launched from Gaza, and he was a non-Jewish casualty, a Bedouin. Twelve people had been killed over that period by (presumably more accurate) mortar fire from Gaza: eleven of them military targets and one a non-Jewish casualty: a Thai worker (http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/rocket-deaths-israel.html).
This whole military operation has had little in reality to do with tunnels and rockets. It has been about destruction – unlawful under international law – of Palestinian civilian infrastructure, once again to destroy the viability of any Palestinian state. Just look at what has been destroyed above the ground. It has been about terrorising the Palestinian people. It has done so very successfully, but it has manifestly not succeeded in destroying their will.
Professor in Criminology
University of Auckland
The following event hosted by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies might be of interest to ISN supporters and members
Violence in society in peacetime is often thought of as being mainly inter-personal. This event will discuss how the period of austerity has produced structural violence that is experienced by both communities and individuals. It will focus on the health service, housing, poverty and also on the impact of austerity on violence against women.
The four speakers at the roundtable will be:
Dr Sarah Steele – Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr Vickie Cooper – Liverpool John Moores University
Ewa Jasiewicz – Fuel Poverty Action
Heather McRobie – Open Democracy
There will be four introductions of 15 minutes followed by a discussion about whether this form of social harm might be better understood as a form of violence in society created by austerity.
For more details visit:http://bit.ly/1pZ8UaS
TUSC starts to prepare for the General Election – and seeks discussions with Left Unity, reports ISN delegate Pete McLaren
REPORT FROM TUSC STEERING COMMITTEE 02/07/14
In attendance: Paula Mitchell (SP); Charlie Kimber (SWP); Mike Seargant (RMT); Pete McLaren (ISN); John McInally (PCS Vice-Pres); Dave Nellist (Chair); Clive Heemskerk (Agent)
It was agreed Clive Heemskerk would attend a meeting of the Leicester TUSC SC to discuss how best to support the two ‘rebel’ councillors who now sat as TUSC councillors
SOCIALIST RESISTANCE Continue reading
REPORT FROM LU NATIONAL COUNCIL 07/06/14
Compiled by Pete McLaren – with notes from Colin Piper (Emergency resolution taken late Saturday, and Sunday) – for the Independent Socialist Network
Chairs: Mathew Caygill (Leeds) and Liz Davies (London)
There were 51 elected members present.
The meeting began, as such left events do, with a number of procedural questions. Matthew Caygill, in the Chair, announced that the Disputes Committee was in on-going discussions with Glasgow South LU, and that therefore their motion on a certain lack of democracy within the LU in Scotland, calling for a meeting of all Scottish LU members, should be deferred. There was also a dispute as to whether the Glasgow branch had been formally set up. Matthew Jones, from Glasgow, argued that the motion needed to be dealt with now, as the next NC was not until September. As the Scottish referendum question was part of the issue, that would be too late. It was agreed by 30 votes to 12 with 9 abstentions to defer the motion.
The next issue Continue reading