Blog

Guest blog: Sisters Uncut

This a guest blog from Sisters Uncut a new network being set up to highlight cuts to domestic violence services. Find out more here.

 

sisters_504

Calling all self-defining women who are furious about the impact of cuts to domestic violence services. A group of women from the direct action group UK Uncut are starting a ‘sister’ group – ‘Sisters Uncut.’ We plan to organise solely on the issue of cuts to domestic violence services in the run up to the general election. We need your help!

 

We are deeply concerned by the impact austerity is having on women. Doors are being closed on women fleeing violence. Refuges are being shut down, money for domestic violence services is shrinking, legal aid has been cut, social housing is scarce and private rents are extortionate. What’s more, local councils are selling out contracts to services who are running them on a shoe string – putting the safety of survivors at risk and deteriorating the working conditions for those who work with abused women. All the while, the number of women who are killed every week due to domestic violence is on the increase.

Austerity is adversely affecting women and is a reflection of gender inequalities within central and local government and the wider culture of misogyny in our society. We want to fight this and we want to do it together and we want to use direct action.

 

10387601_746606704857_8405796455147665116_n

What do we want? Two things: 1. That local authorities provide adequate funding for domestic violence services and this is ring-fenced (meaning they have to spend it on these services). 2. Survivors of domestic violence are given priority when they apply for social housing.

How do we want to achieve this? A consistent campaign of direct action in the lead up to the election E.g. occupations, sit-ins, civil disobedience, road blocks etc. We want this to be relentless, we want women’s voices to be heard, for the powerful and privileged to realise that we’ve had enough of their entitlement and that we demand our rights.

Who do we want to target? Local authorities and the government. Local council budgets have been drastically cut because of decisions made by central government. But local authorities need to be held to account, they are choosing to ignore the needs of women, they are choosing to enable and maintain a culture that holds women responsible for the violence inflicted upon them, they are choosing to ignore women’s needs.

Who are ‘we’? We envision Sisters Uncut as an umbrella group to link up feminist groups and individuals. We want to have regular, open meetings for all self-defining women who wish to get involved. The meetings are for self-defining women so that they can be safe spaces for survivors. Our association with UK Uncut means we can use the UK Uncut platform to generate support, tie in our messaging with UK Uncut’s and draw on the group’s success at mobilising large numbers of people to take direct action against austerity.

Although we have an idea of what we want to achieve and how to make this happen, we would love to get input from a diversity of individuals and groups. We need as many women involved as possible for this to work: its time that we show the government what a real coalition looks like. Please join us for an open meeting where we can discuss all of the above in more detail and begin organising together!

Time: 
19.00-21.00

Date:
 6 November

Location: Cross Roads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, NW5 2DX
A creche will be provided.

 


Guest blog: Occupy Democracy

This is a guest blog from Occupy Democracy. Find out more about the project, and see a full list of workshops here. Follow @occupydemocracy and #occupydemmocracy to stay up to speed.

Our time is now.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of people are fighting courageously for the right to a real vote. They know that a system where candidates are decided by the state is no democracy.

In Scotland, 45% of people rejected Westminster rule. They know that a system that takes the power to make local decisions out of their hands is no democracy.

We know that democracy is not just about having a vote every four, now five years. It is about having the power to make your voice heard. We know that a government that answers to profit before people is no democracy.

ODIn the UK today, record numbers of people are homeless, record numbers rely on food banks to feed their families, and record numbers face fuel poverty as energy prices rise eight times faster than wages.

At the same time, inequality is back on the rise, making us one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. The amount we ask businesses to contribute to our social services in tax is set to be the lowest of any of the G20 countries. Tax evasion and avoidance costs the UK £95bn a year, enough to fund the NHS in England.

Nobody voted to be made homeless, hungry or unemployed.  It is clear whose voices are being heard.

We need to start a movement for real democracy. The voices of the majority have been ignored for too long. We need to give ourselves the tools to hold our politicians to account, and to end the corporate lobbying power that drowns our voices out.

To do it, we need a movement that cannot be ignored. That is why we are occupying Parliament Square from the 17th – 26th of October, to begin a fight for a real democracy (see the original call to action). There, in the shadow of Nelson Mandela’s statue, we will transform the Square into a civic space where we can re-envision what our society could be like, with talks, workshops, community assemblies, music and theatre.

385590There is one thing that every successful social justice movement has had to overcome: the prevalence of the belief that the status quo is how it has to be. That there is no alternative. All of us can feel weakened and ground down by that belief, but all of us must have the courage to overcome it. To imagine a different future for ourselves. To show each other that there is an alternative. Because the current system relies entirely on our believing that there isn’t.

The austerity measures imposed on us for the sake of economic growth, our continued reliance on dirty coal and oil, our hospitals closing, our transit systems worsening while fares rise, our children attending under-funded schools with exhausted underpaid teachers – we only accept these things because we let ourselves believe there is no other way of doing things.

But please, join us for the Occupation. Try imagining there is another way. Do it with people you love, people you trust, with experts and activists and people to be inspired by. If you’re reading this, you’re invited. Your friends, family, colleagues are invited. Now is the time to produce our vision of a sane, workable, inspiring alternative, together. Come to learn, discuss and participate. Dare to believe that there is an alternative.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Rise, like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number!
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you:
Ye are many—they are few!


Guest blog: #stopMIPIM

This is a guest blog from Digs, a grass roots group supporting and empowering Hackney renters. Digs are one of the groups involved in organising #stopMIPIM. These actions are part of a week of strikes and protests that are seeing people reclaim the political agenda after the political party conference season. Join in this Saturday at the big demo in London.

 

Why does London have 344,000 people on council waiting lists? Why is homelessness soaring despite Boris Johnson’s promise to rid London of rough sleeping? And why are more and more people pushed into bad housing in an exploitative private rented sector?

These are the kind of questions politicians are finding it more and more difficult to ignore, as peoples’ chance of decent, secure housing is torn apart by a historically brutal housing crisis.

For answers to these questions, more people are looking to the dark, murky world of property investment, represented in perhaps its most odious form by MIPIM, the world’s largest property fair. This is the prestigious annual event where wealthy, profit-hungry developers rub shoulders with local councils and public bodies to sell off public land.

MIPIMMany of the ‘regeneration’ projects which have left local people displaced and short changed can be traced back to MIPIM conferences of previous years. And these deals have led to terrible results for local people as they are forcibly removed from their homes and communities into housing that is neither secure nor affordable. Social housing units are replaced with luxury flats. And meanwhile leaseholders are forced by developers to sell their homes at significantly less than market value.

Boris Johnson, who opened MIPIM this morning, argues we need to build our way out of this housing crisis. But build what, and for whom?

The vast majority of new housing stock being built in London is sold to investors seeking lucrative returns. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t producing the genuinely affordable housing people of London so desperately need. MIPIM normally happens in Cannes, France but this year it comes to London for the first time. An error of scheduling you might think when you consider the movement for housing justice growing so rapidly across the capital.

This year’s #stopMIPIM actions promise to be bigger and louder than previous years. The devastation wreaked by the current housing crisis has acted as a tidal wave pulling more and more people into action. People who have never seen themselves as political before are tired of standing by while their homes and communities are sold from underneath them.

As well as the swell of grass roots activism that MIPIM has inspired, local councils have been boycotting the event, voicing their opposition to the housing policies MIPIM represents. Tower Hamlet, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham and Islington Council are among those who’ve confirmed they won’t be attending MIPIM.

Here’s some of the ways you can get involved:


CALL OUT: October 18th and week of actions

Join the UK Uncut bloc on the TUC rally on Saturday 18. Meet under Waterloo Bridge at 11am. Look out for the UK Uncut flags. We’ll join the main march and have some fun along the way. At the end of the rally in Hyde Park, meet at Hyde Park Corner to join Occupy Democracy in Parliament Square.

The political party conference season is finally over – now we can get on with some real politics. They’ve had their say, now we’re going to have ours.

Let’s talk about tax dodging by the super-rich costing us £100bn a year. Let’s talk about CORPORATE welfare hand-outs that cost us £85bn a year. Let’s talk about how the 5 richest families in the UK are wealthier than the bottom 20% of the population – 12.6m people! Let’s talk about how in the world’s 6th richest country, there’s more than enough money to ensure everyone has a place to call home, food on the table and access to vital public services: free education, health and care. Let’s talk about how austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity. Let’s talk about the alternatives.

The Conservatives attack the poor. We can’t believe a word the FibDems say. UKIP blame foreigners. And Miliband forgot most of his speech – the bit about taking on the banks, making the super-rich pay up, reversing the cuts and standing up for people.

Political parties are rapidly proving themselves to be obsolete. But that doesn’t mean that politics doesn’t matter. Politics doesn’t belong to the architects of austerity in Westminster, it belongs to us, the people.

The ‘big’ parties have a membership of less than 400,000. The trade unions have a combined membership of over 6.5m. And they’re mobilising. On Saturday October 18, hundreds of thousands of people will be on the streets of London, demanding an end to austerity from the government and poverty pay from the big companies. Join the UK Uncut bloc on the demo.

marchBut marching alone won’t change things. In the week leading up to the march, workers will be taking part in strikes. Strike action is direct action. And people will be mobilising to make themselves heard on issues from fracking to housing.

UK Uncut has always supported workers taking action. On March 26 2011, when half a million people were on the streets, UK Uncutters took part in one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in this country for decades when we occupied Fortnum and Mason. When 750,000 people went on strike on June 30 2011, UK Uncutters supported their pickets with Big Society Big Breakfast. When 2m people went on strike later that year, UK Uncutters supported them with SolidariTEA. And when hundreds of thousands of workers marched on October 20 2012 UK Uncutters joined the march, and then joined up with DPAC to block a major road.

solidariTEA4In the lead up to the march, support the people on strike – go to their picket and take them a cup of solidaritea. Take a pic and share it on twitter with #UKUncut. And find the local actions and protests happening near you.

Then join the UK Uncut bloc on October 18. Join the facebook event and check back here for details. Bring flags, bring banners, bring your friends and family. And watch this space for some surprises to be announced.

See you on the streets.

Actions and strikes:

Saturday 11 – Global Frackdownhappening everywhere! AND European wide day of action against TTIP

Monday 13-Wednesday 15 – strikes in NHS, local government and civil service! Happening nationwide

Wednesday 15-Friday 17 – Homes for People not Profit – actions in London

Saturday 18 – demos in London, Glasgow and Belfast

Join the UK Uncut bloc on the TUC rally on Saturday 18. Meet under Waterloo Bridge at 11am. Look out for the UK Uncut flags. We’ll join the main march and have some fun along the way. At the end of the rally in Hyde Park, meet at Hyde Park Corner to join Occupy Democracy in Parliament Square.


Crash Clegg’s Conference Speech

It’s time for Clegg’s big speech, and time for us to take action. We’ve had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires. At 1pm today let’s tell Clegg what we think of four years of Con Dem government, and show them we’re going to fight them all the way.

On Twitter:

At 1pm click these links to tweet at him, or make up your own. Tweet .@nick_clegg and use #ldconf and #UKUncut

Four years of Con Dem government

Clegg’s lies about tuition fees

More broken promises

Hands off our NHS

Letting the Tories into power

On Facebook:

At 1pm go to the Liberal Democrats facebook page and comment under their latest post. Be creative, and tell them what you think of the Con Dem government. Or you can copy and paste these comments below:

1.

Under the Con Dem coalition we’ve seen four years of savage cuts to public services. The public have been punished for a financial crisis that was caused by the rich. And what has Clegg done to rein in the Tory tyranny? Nothing. Instead we’ve seen the Fib Dems break promises and back policies that have caused suffering for millions of people. In the world’s sixth biggest economy, nearly 1 million people have been driven to food banks to feed themselves while in the last five years  the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in the UK has more than doubled and super-rich tax dodgers avoid over £100bn every year.

2.

Nick Clegg we’re sick of your lies. You promised a fairer tax system and to introduce a mansion tax. You promised you wouldn’t raise university tuition fees. You promised you’d protect the NHS and Sure Start Centres. And what happened? You climbed into bed with the Tories, went back on your promises and pushed through a whole host of ruthless austerity measures. You’ve demonised the marginalised as ‘benefit scroungers’ whilst letting the bankers and corporate tax dodgers off scot-free.

This is only going to work if everyone gets involved, so join in.

See you online


CALL OUT: Crash the Conferences: #ldconf

We’re coming for you Clegg!

We’ve already heard from the Tories and Labour, where Cameron/Miliband/Balls/Osborne gleefully sang the same song on austerity and cuts. Now the Liberal Democrat conference is upon us and no doubt they’ll be joining in loud and clear!

At 1pm on Wednesday October 8th, while the Lib Dems gather to hear Clegg’s big speech, we’re going to crash their conference. When Clegg starts talking, let’s flood the Lib Dems on facebook and trash Clegg on twitter – let’s tell Clegg that we will never forgive his lies and never forget that none of the cuts would have happened if he hadn’t teamed up with the Tories. More details here.

clegg-crown-copyright-prime-ministers-officeUnder the Con Dem coalition we’ve seen four years of savage cuts to public services. The public have been punished for a financial crisis that was caused by the rich. And what has Clegg done to rein in the Tory tyranny? Nothing. Instead we’ve seen the Fib Dems break promises and back policies that have caused suffering for millions of people.

They promised they’d implement a fairer tax system and introduce a mansion tax. They promised they wouldn’t raise university tuition fees. They promised they’d protect the NHS and Sure Start Centres. And what happened? They climbed into bed with the Tories, went back on their promises and pushed through a whole host of ruthless austerity measures. They’ve demonised the marginalised as ‘benefit scroungers’ whilst letting the bankers and corporate tax dodgers off scot-free.

Last week together we hijacked Cameron’s speech. Now it’s Clegg’s turn. Let’s not let the Lib Dem architects of austerity off the hook!

Nick Clegg will be making his speech this Wednesday at 1pm. Be ready.

See you online.


Crash Cameron’s Conference Speech

It’s time for Dave’s big speech, and time for us to take action. We’ve had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires. At 11:30am today let’s tell Cameron what we think of four years of Tory government, and show them we’re going to fight them all the way.

On Twitter:

At 11:30am click these links to tweet at him, or make up your own. Tweet .@David_Cameron and use #CPC14 and #UKUncut

Hands off our NHS

Let’s talk about the real ‘scroungers’

Dave’s tax dodging chums

Sick of Cameron’s lies

On Facebook:

At 11:30am go to the Conservatives facebook page and comment under their latest post. Be creative, and tell them what you think of the Tory government. Or you can copy and paste these comments below:

1.

David Cameron we’re sick of your lies. You told us “we’re all in this together”. You told us “we’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS”. You told us “those with the broadest shoulders will bear the brunt of the cuts”. You lied. In the world’s sixth biggest economy, nearly 1 million people have been driven to food banks to feed themselves while in the last five years  the wealth of the richest 1,000 people in the UK has more than doubled and super-rich tax dodgers avoid over £100bn every year.

2.

We’ve had enough of your austerity economics. Stop hammering poor people, and start doing something about the real ‘scroungers’ – the super-rich tax dodgers, the bankers that caused the financial crisis, the companies that pay poverty wages to workers.

This is only going to work if everyone gets involved, so join in.

See you online


CALL OUT: Crash the Conferences: #cpc14

Time for the Tories to listen up. We’ve had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires.

They told us “we’re all in this together”. They lied. They told us “we’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS”. They lied. They told us they’d “protect the poorest and most vulnerable”. They lied. They told us “those with the broadest shoulders will bear the brunt of the cuts”. They lied.

At 11:30am on Wednesday October 1st, while the Tories gather to hear Cameron’s big speech, we’re going to crash their conference. When Cameron starts talking, let’s flood the Tories on facebook and trash Cameron on twitter – let’s tell him what we think of four years of Tory government, and show them we’re going to fight them all the way. More details here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullingdon_Club

The Tory government have unleashed a relentless attack on the public with their savage austerity plans. Dismantling the NHS and wrecking the welfare state. Cutting schools, youth clubs, sure start centres, domestic violence refuges and libraries. Slashing local council budgets. Attacking disabled people with inhumane ‘work capability assessments’ and cuts to vital benefits. Deepening gender inequality, as their cruel and unnecessary cuts disproportionately affect women. Removing access to justice through legal aid cuts. Allowing the big six energy companies to push people into fuel poverty. Cutting jobs, wages and pensions. Selling off social housing and moving people away from their communities. Driving hundreds of thousands into food banks and making families choose between heating or eating.

They told us there was no alternative. But this cabinet of millionaires has continued to let mega-rich individuals and companies get away with dodging BILLIONS in tax – £100 billion a year! They’ve cut the top rate of tax for the rich, they’ve opposed the Robin Hood Tax at every turn, and they’ve allowed bankers’ pay and bonuses to rocket.

Instead of making the tax dodgers pay up and the banks pay for the crisis they caused, they’ve made the public pay. The cuts are a political choice, based on ideology, not economic necessity.

We’re sick of their lies. We’re sick of them protecting the rich and punishing the poor. So watch out Cameron, Osborne and the rest of your crony cabinet of millionaires. We’re coming to get you.

See you online at 11:30am, Wednesday October 1st.


CALL OUT: Crash the Conferences: #Lab14

Listen up Labour!

For the last four years the Government have been punishing the public for a financial crisis caused by the banks. They have sold schools, dismantled the NHS, attacked disabled people, cut libraries, closed children centres and domestic violence refuges and driven people out of their homes and into food banks. And the Labour Party hasn’t done anywhere near enough to stop them. If Labour wants us to think they’re different from the Tories, they need to prove it.

Today at 2:15pm Ed Miliband is making his speech to the Labour Party Conference. This is his big moment to tell us what he’s standing for. Well we think it’s time he started listening instead.

Here’s what we need to do:

At 2:15pm, tweet @Ed_Miliband (and use #lab14) telling him what you want to see the Labour Party do if they win in 2015.

If you’re on facebook, go to the Labour Party page and comment under their latest post with your ideas about what should be in the Labour manifesto.

Yesterday the ever uninspiring Ed Balls set out his agenda: to support the Tories’ austerity, continuing their cuts. But we’re tired of hearing about cuts to our vital public services, while the greedy super-rich get away with dodging tax. We’re tired of the poor getting punished for the financial crisis caused by the banks, while the fat cats get fatter. We’re sick of politicians telling us there’s no alternative, and not addressing real problems

Labour have moved so far from their roots it’s an outrage they’re still calling themselves the Labour Party. It’s time for Labour to listen to the people.

See you at the conference!

Here are some ideas to share with Miliband:

People are ready for change.

It’s time for Labour to get their priorities straight.

And do something about inequality.


CALL OUT: Crash The Conferences

Change is in the air. With less than a year to go until the general election it’s time to tell the agents of austerity that we demand and deserve change.

In the next three weeks UK Uncut are going to CRASH THE CONFERENCES.

8

The three biggest political parties are gathering their members for their annual conferences. It’s the big chance for Cameron, Clegg and Miliband to tell their parties and the country what they’re standing for. But we don’t want to hear more about austerity, about tightening our belts, about getting our house in order. Because we know that the house they want to order is one that works only for the super rich, for big corporations and for private companies.

We’re tired of hearing about cuts to our vital public services while the greedy super-rich get away with dodging tax. We’re tired of the poor getting punished for the financial crisis caused by the banks. We’re bored of politicians saying the same old things and not addressing real problems. We think it’s time the politicians stop talking and start listening.

Scotland made Westminster quake – they showed that when enough people speak up, politicians have to listen. But it’s just the start. We have to keep fighting and keep our voices heard. It’s time that people take back politics.

On the day that each party leader makes their speech, get on social media and together we will crash their conferences. It’s only going to work if lots of people get stuck in.

Labour’s Conference is first up.

More details coming soon.

See you online

Labour Party Conference: Sunday 21 to Wednesday 24 September

Conservative Party Conference: Sunday 28 September to Wednesday 1 October

Lib Dem Conference: Saturday 4 to Wednesday 8 October