1 November 2015
PRESS STATEMENT: Communists Condemn Government's "Callous Approach" to the Steel Industry
Communists in the North East and Cumbria have condemned the government’s ”callous approach” to the crisis in Britain’s steel industry.
Meeting in Carlisle on Saturday 31 October, the Northern District Congress of the Communist Party passed a hard-hitting resolution pointing out that “Redcar will not recover for decades” from the SSI closure and that the government’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ claim is “nothing more than a cheap slogan.”
Saluting the trade union-led “Save Our Steel” campaign, the Congress declared that, “Ultimately the cause of the crisis is the open-door trade policies of the British government and the European Union. Yet even now, the government could provide support to keep the blast furnaces and coke ovens working, and invest in infrastructure projects to be supplied with steel from British plants.”
Moving the main draft resolution from the District Committee, district secretary Martin Levy observed that, when the supply chain at Redcar is included, many more than 3,000 jobs will go. Referring also to last Thursday’s announcement of the planned closure of the General Mills plant in Berwick-upon-Tweed, he criticised “the degree to which our remaining manufacturing industry depends on the decisions of transnational corporations”, pointing out that “monopoly capitalism has failed the people of our District.”
The Congress adopted a 9-point plan of action, including winning a united campaign against anti-trade union laws, helping to build the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and popularising the case for arms conversion at the BAe plant in Barrow. “We campaign for the SSI plant to be kept open and for the workers’ jobs to be protected,” said Mr Levy. “We must also campaign for job protection in Barrow, but for production which does not involve weapons of mass destruction.”
Monday 13 April 2015
COMMUNIST CANDIDATE ON WHAT TO BELIEVE FROM POLITICIANS
"The only Tory, Labour and LibDem spending pledges that can be believed are those for a new generation of weapons of mass destruction", said Mollie Stevenson, Communist Party candidate for Newcastle upon Tyne East.
Speaking on the same day that 'Vote Communist' posters bearing her name and photograph went up in Newcastle East, Ms Stevenson dismissed promises by the different parties to spend more money on the NHS, apprenticeships and education as "cynical attempts to bribe voters with their own money".
"The only certainty is that a coalition of Tory, Labour, LibDem and UKIP MPs will unite to squander £100 billion on nuclear weapons with the potential to kill a million civilians in somewhere like Russia or China", she predicted.
The Communist candidate called instead for massive investment in new public sector housing, public services, transport and renewable energy.
"We should give our young people acivilised society inspired by hope, not one driven by fear and despair", she declared.
Published by Martin Levy, election agent, 13 Shoreham Court, Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 2XG
PRESS STATEMENT 18 March 2015
In response to the government's Budget on March 18, Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths issued the following statement:
THE ATTACK ON PUBLIC SERVICES AND THE POOR INTENSIFIES.
Repeating the lie that Britainís chief problem is government borrowing and spending, Chancellor and hereditary millionaire George Osborne intends to intensify his attack on public services, public sector workers and on the unemployed, sick and disabled who rely on welfare benefits.
In order to reduce the governmentís funding deficit by an extra £30 billion to 2018, the Tories and their little LibDem helpers would slash spending on public sector services, wages and pensions by £13bn and on benefits by £12bn. The cuts would be twice as deep over the next two years as this year and previously.
The other £5bn would be found from feeble measures to tackle the tax dodgers.
In other words, more than twice as much would be squeezed from welfare claimants and the poorest one-fifth of the population who own no net wealth at all, than from the richest 1 per cent of the population who are hiding somewhere between £2,000bn and £4,000bn in tax havens around the world.
Any Tory or Labour government serious about closing the public finances deficit could do it at a stroke by placing a modest 2 per cent wealth tax on the richest 10 per cent of the population and abolishing the tax haven status of Britainís crown dependencies and overseas territories from the Isle of Man to the British Virgin Islands.
But instead of slapping a windfall tax on the monopoly profits of the banks, supermarkets, energy utilities and arms companies, Chancellor Osborne hands out more than £1bn in tax relief to the oil and gas corporations and boasts that tax-dodging multinational companies here pay less tax on their profits than almost anywhere else in the developed world.
However, the biggest winners from this Budget may turn out to be the very City of London crooks and spivs who fund the Tory Party. Osborne announced today that the same vultures who mis-sold workplace pensions and payment protection insurance can now sink their claws into annuities sold by todayís as well as tomorrowís pensioners.
Behind Osborneís bluff and bluster, the reality is that the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts a slow-down in Britainís economic growth from 2.5 per cent this year to lower rates all the way to 2019-20. Even that presumes that this new round of public spending cuts doesnít strangle economic recovery as they did after his 2010 emergency budget.
Far from the Tories and LibDems reducing inequality and raising everybodyís living standards, last weekís survey from the right-wing Social Market Foundation indicated that the wealthiest one-fifth of the population are 64 per cent better off than a decade ago, while the poorest one-fifth are 57 per cent worse off.
The tragedy is that the Labour Party leadership has largely swallowed the Tory line that austerity is more important than investment in public services, public ownership and planning when it comes to health, education, housing, energy and public transport.
Even so, it is now clearer than ever that victory on May 7 would be taken by the Tories as the signal to make far deeper and quicker cuts in public services and the welfare state than Labour would, supplemented by more privatisation and a new barrage of anti-trade union laws.
That is the real substance of this Tory-led governmentís ëlong-term economic planí and why it must be derailed at the forthcoming General Election.
PRESS STATEMENT 12 February 2015
Communists choose youthful enthusiasm to fight Newcastle East in General Election
The Communist Party has chosen young mother-of-three Mollie Stevenson to fight the Newcastle East seat in the coming general election. Ms Stevenson, age 34, was born in Newcastle and lives in North Shields, where she is a leading activist in the North Tyneside branch of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
Veteran communist Martin Levy, who fought the seat at the previous 4 general elections, will be acting as election agent. He commented, “I am delighted that Mollie has agreed to be our candidate. She will bring youthful enthusiasm to our campaign.”
Speaking today, Ms Stevenson said:
“Austerity has failed Britain. Families are finding it hard to make ends meet while the super-rich are boosting their wealth. I shall be campaigning in the election for a different agenda from all the major parties, for a left wing programme of alternative policies – policies for the millions, not for the millionaires.”
These policies include:
• No to austerity, privatisation, the EU and NATO.
• Reverse cuts to public spending and essential benefits – scrap the bedroom tax.
• Tax big business profits and the wealth of the super-rich.
• Take radical action to squeeze or close down tax havens.
• Substantially raise pensions, benefits and the minimum wage.
• Scrap nuclear weapons and switch military production to civilian use.
• Take the railways, banks, postal service and utilities into public ownership.
• Cut household gas and electricity tariffs.
Mollie Stevenson (candidate): t: 07478 314289;
Martin Levy (agent): t: 07799 040570;
Issued on behalf of the Communist Party of Britain by Martin Levy (agent)
13 Shoreham Court, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 2XG
6th October 2012
Northern Communists Urge Support for TUC Demonstration
The Northern District Committee of the Communist Party of Britain, meeting in Carlisle on 6th October, called on the region's working people to support the TUC's A Future That Works demonstrations in London and Glasgow to oppose the government's ideological onslaught on the public sector.
Giving the political report, Paul Levy condemned the Con-Dem government's "vicious cuts programme".
The report raised the issue of the award of a £140m contract for IT provision at Britain's nuclear power stations and nuclear waste disposal plants - many of which are based in our region - to Atos, the company at the centre of the scandal over the government's Work Capability Assessments.
The collapse of the planned hand-over of the west coast rail line contract to First is "yet another notable failing of rail privatisation" which vindicates the communist party's call for full renationalisation of the network.
Discussing Andrew Mitchell's infamous "plebs" comment to police officers, the report pointed out how the incident "highlighted the class nature of the current regime".
The committee also discussed plans for the party's public meeting in Barrow on October 31st.
18th August 2012
Communists Condemn West Coast rail franchise award
The Northern District Committee of the Communist Party of Britain, meeting in Carlisle on 18 August, has condemned the recent award of the West Coast mainline rail franchise to First Group.
This company’s record with its Great Western franchise, dubbed “Worst Late Western” by some, rings alarm bells that passengers on the West Coast will pay more for a vastly inferior service, while jobs of rail workers on board trains and at stations in our region will be sacrificed in the interests of shareholder dividends.
The whole franchise system is a farce: companies like First Group and Virgin spend millions of pounds in preparing bids – money which could be used to improve services; First Group was allowed to bid despite being forced recently to hand back the Great Western franchise, where it racked up massive government-funded losses; and the huge premiums that First Group has promised for the West Coast franchise suggest that before too long it will go the same way as National Express’s failed East Coast franchise.
Our region, straddling both main rail routes, relies heavily on rail transport yet passengers are already paying the highest fares in Europe. It is high time that the whole rail system is brought back into public ownership and run as an integrated ‘not-for-profit’ service.
24th April 2012
Say "no" to directly elected mayors
So David Cameron wants Newcastle people to vote yes in the referendum for a directly elected mayor? That alone should be an argument for rejection.
He has the gall to say that it is about “more investment across thecountry, more jobs for our workers” when his own government’s policies have led to the exact opposite, with over 2.5 million out of work.
And if, as he claims, cities risk stagnating then that too follows directly from his policies, which have resulted in £30 million lopped
off Newcastle’s budget for 2011-12, on top of the £44 million last year. That means jobs lost and vital services cut.
Far from being more democratic, a directly elected mayor would be an attack on local democracy. Councillors would become almost irrelevant as the mayor would be able to over-ride their decisions and impose further cutbacks and privatisation. And the system would open the door to corruption, the sort of “cash for access” offers which were recently in the news.
Cameron and his party want directly elected mayors, not as “local champions”, but as officials who can be more easily manipulated by central government.
The elected mayor issue is a diversion from the real matter of the coalition government’s attack on working people’s jobs, services and pensions. The referendum should be treated as a referendum on those policies with a resounding no vote.
Northern District Secretary
Communist Party of Britain
(Published in Newcastle Evening Chronicle 24th April 2012)