Blog

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. Watch this space for more details coming soon.

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


Guest post: an apology

This is a guest blog from the organisers of the VodaHome action in London in July

At our recent Vodafone protest in Central London, where along with a number of other activists and campaigners we closed down the Vodafone London flagship store, there was an incident which occurred that was unacceptable, and something the UK Uncut London group would like to publicly apologise for. This blog has been written collectively by the organisers of the London action, and is just one step we’re taking to try and reconcile and apologise for this incident.

A person who was attending the action, was wrongly identified as an undercover police officer, and this was done over a microphone in front of all the people present. Not only was this a dangerous and irresponsible thing to do, which put this man at risk of reprisal from other people; it was also a racist act, as he was a black man in a predominantly white group of campaigners, and the people who accused him were also white.

Subsequent discussions with the man who was wrongly accused, made it clear this incident is another in a lifetime of systematic racism he has experienced, where he has been singled out because of his ethnicity.

We also found out after this incident, that the man who’d been accused of being an undercover police officer, was actually a dedicated and veteran anti-fascist campaigner; and someone who has been targeted consistently by the police throughout his life for being black. Furthermore, that he has close personal experience of police targeting black people and the police brutality which goes hand in hand with that.

We want to take this opportunity to formally and publicly apologise as a group for what happened. We fully accept this was a racist act and it should not have happened. It put you at risk, singled you out as a black man and further marginalised you. We take full responsibility for this.

We also apologise for not doing enough immediately after this happened. We should have ensured a full apology was made to you over the mic, so other people there would have heard too. We realise this lack of appropriate response must have left you feeling even more alienated and excluded.

We also want to assure you how seriously we take this. We recognise that this incident has been extremely difficult for the man who attended the protest and has also effected people of colour who were part of organising the Vodafone London action. As a group we are currently taking steps to learn from what happened. This is an ongoing process and one which we are committed to.

We’ve put together some resources that we’ve found useful since dealing with this, we wanted to share them with anyone else interested in these issues:

1) Unpacking White Privilege www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

2) How to Deal With Being Called Out: http://thinkanddiethinking.tumblr.com/post/38480374534/how-to-deal-with-being-called-out-from-the

3) Tools for White Guys: http://www.starhawk.org/activism/trainer-resources/tools-whiteguys.html


Action Call Out Focus E15

Call Out


Sunday 21st September Focus E15 Anniversary Party followed by Top Secret Housing Action!


Focus E15 campaigners are inviting people to join a day of fun and music on the almost empty Carpenters Estate in Stratford. Later in the afternoon, party goers will become activists as they will be led to a Top Secret Housing Action in the Newham area. Together we can put an end to social cleansing!

We started in September 2013 when some of us as young mothers were served eviction notices by East Thames Housing Association after Newham Council cut its funding to the Focus E15 hostel for young homeless people. Our campaign now includes ALL people facing housing crisis because

THE BIGGER WE GROW THE LOUDER WE BECOME

If you’re angry about homelessness and social cleansing, come and join Focus E15 as we tell Newham Council:

SOCIAL HOUSING NOT SOCIAL CLEANSING

 Our campaign has gained no sympathy from our Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, whose behaviour is currently the subject of an internal investigation after a complaint was sent to the council about his disgusting behaviour towards Focus E15 campaigners at the Newham Mayor’s Show in July. This video shows what he did when one of the E15 mothers tried to give him a leaflet!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsPxancNiqk

If you’re fuming about unaffordable rents, the bedroom tax, housing benefit cuts, social cleansing, empty houses and millions being left without safe and secure homes, then take action! If it makes you sick that our Labour Mayor thinks he can get away with treating us like dirt then take action!

Its an outrage that people are being shipped out of London while there are thousands of empty homes on the Carpenters Estate and all over the city!

Join us from 2pm-6pm 21st September
Londis Supermarket, Wilmer Lea Close, Carpenters Estate, London E15 2HR

Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1487181911524713/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Like our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Focus-E15-Mothers/602860129757343

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=focus%20e15&src=typd


Guest blog: Day of Action for our Railways

This is a guest blog by Ellie Harrison founder and coordinator of Bring Back British Rail

Please support us this Tuesday 19 August for our national Day of Action for Public Ownership of our Railways, which coincides with the dreaded day when we find out how much our already over-priced train tickets will increase in the New Year.

In rail, as in nearly all of the essential public services and utilities which were privatised in the ’80 and ’90s, we are being ripped off. The inefficiencies of the market coupled with the ‘false’ profits extracted from taxpayer subsidies by the private Train Operating Companies, is wasting £1.2 billion a year. Privatised Rail costs us much more than it ever did, when it was run as one fully integrated public company called British Rail.

For example, Virgin Trains – the joint venture between billionaire Richard Branson and Brian Souter of Stagecoach, which runs our West Coast main line has, since 1997, taken £500 million in profit which could otherwise have been invested for the public good. Arriva Trains Wales – now owned by the German state company Deutsche Bahn – has extracted £75 million in profit since the start of its franchise in 2003 (figures from the 2013 report The Great Train Robbery).

It’s time to make a stand! We simply cannot afford to be throwing away this money. For the sake of the environment, more than anything, we must be investing in and expanding our public transport system, so that it is easy, efficient, affordable and, dare I say, even enjoyable for people as a vital alternative to cars and short-haul flights.

Of all the failures of privatisation, it is in rail where we are making most ground. Since launching Bring Back British Rail in 2009 I have witnessed public support and momentum really grow. Our small passenger-led campaign was joined by the TUC’s Action for Rail in 2012 and Compass’s new All on Board this summer. With signs that Labour is finally starting to admit to failures, now is the time we bring in more new voices to help us really put the pressure on.

We are calling on UK Uncutters to join us on Tuesday at the actions all over the country, and at our big demo in London at King’s Cross Station (see details below). Help us find new ways to draw attention to this important issue, which encompasses economic, social and environmental justice all at once. The re-nationalisation of our railways has the potential to be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ – the carrier for a new political narrative, which, if we can work together to make a reality, could pave the way for the public ownership of all our essential public services and utilities, which should never have been given away.

All on Board for Public Ownership

London action:
Tuesday 19 August 2014

7:30 – 9:00AM

King’s Cross Station

(assemble in King’s Cross Square at front of station for 8:00AM photo-op)

Join the Facebook event for all the updates, or email me to meet in London: info@bringbackbritishrail.org

Support Bring Back British Rail at:

www.bringbackbritishrail.org

www.facebook.com/bringbackbritishrail


CALL OUT: #VodafoneAGM: Occupy Online

Vodafone keep dodging tax, and the Government keep letting them get away with it.

Last year Vodafone made a profit of £294 million and paid no corporation tax. They haven’t paid a penny in corporation tax since 2011. But that’s not even their biggest tax dodge: in 2010 they were allowed to get away with avoiding over £6 billion. They still haven’t paid it back.

That’s money they owe the British public. What do you think it should be spent on?

On Tuesday July 29th at 11am, Vodafone will be celebrating their biggest day of the year – they’ve got their annual shareholder meeting in London, a chance to get together and pat themselves on the back for another year of sky high profits and rock bottom tax.

Last month people up and down the country occupied their stores to protest. On Tuesday let’s occupy Vodafone online. We can use their own social media channels against them and spread the word about Vodafone’s tax dodging, and the Government’s refusal to do anything about it.

This is only going to work if lots of people get involved. Here’s what you can do:

1. Facebook: at 11am go to VodafoneUK’s facebook page and put a comment under their latest post. Tell Vodafone what you think their dodged tax should be spent on.

2. Twitter: at 11am tweet .@VodafoneUK and use #VodafoneAGM – tell them what the £6billion they dodged in tax should be spent on. If you’ve got space, @David_Cameron and @George_Osborne as well – it’s their fault Vodafone can get away with this.

So whether you think Vodafone’s dodged tax should be spent on hospitals, schools, welfare or housing, make your voice heard, get involved and hijack their hashtag.

See you online.


Guest blog: Tax Dodging Tours

This is a guest blog from ActionAid

At ActionAid we’ve been campaigning for tax justice and exposing how big businesses dodge their taxes since 2008. We’ve come up with a fun new way to share what we’ve learnt: a tax justice walking tour around Mayfair.

Tax dodging by big business has become big news, but it’s not just the UK that’s losing out. Developing countries lose 3 times more to tax havens than they receive in aid each year. There’s over $20 trillion stashed in offshore tax havens. How does big business manage to avoid taxes and how do they get away with it? If you’re curious about the answers to these questions, this walking tour is for you.

In the last few years, tax justice campaigning by ActionAid and others has made good progress, but there is still a long way to go. The point of this tour is for people to understand what’s going on and to feel inspired that there is something everyone can do about tax dodging. Whether you are totally new to tax justice or already campaigning on this, the tour is a fun way to learn and get involved.

As recent research by Oxfam and the Equality trust shows, tax dodging is driving poverty and inequality all over the world, including here in the UK. We can’t address the growing gap between rich and poor without redistributing wealth – tax is an important way of doing this. Our tour explores connections between tax dodging, inequality and poverty, at home and abroad, and gives an introduction to the exciting global and local movements for tax justice.

If you’d like to join us on a tour, we’re running them monthly. The next on is on August 9th – find out more and book your place here.


Guest blog: Hands off our Public Services! Take Action Against TTIP, 12 July.

Guest blog from James Angel, #noTTIP campaigner.

The Coalition
government have ramped up the privatisation of our public services, a
process dating back to the Thatcher government of the 80s. As our
schools and hospitals are sold off to profit-hungry business giants,
the social fabric of our society is coming under attack.

But the Tories
aren’t the only threat to our public services. Behind closed doors,
the EU and US are planning the biggest corporate power grab in a
decade. If agreed, the EU-US
trade deal (TTIP)
would
grant corporations the power to sue governments for policies that
could harm their profits. This threatens to lock-in the privatisation
of our schools and hospitals. Labour might have pledged to repeal the
Health & Social Care Act, which has opened up our NHS to
profit-making companies. But if TTIP is agreed, bringing the NHS back
under public control could become extremely difficult – any
government attempting to do this would risk being sued by supremely
powerful private investors.

Meanwhile, rules
that protect
workers, the environment, food safety, digital rights and privacy
would be undermined by TTIP, with harmful industries like fracking
and GM technologies encouraged. 

If agreed, TTIP
would have devastating and irreversible impacts on our society. But
we are being entirely shut out of the decision making process.
Negotiations are shrouded in secrecy. There is no access to the draft
text of the agreement – even for MPs. If ever there was an
agreement that politicians and big business wanted to push through on
the quiet, this is it. But we won’t let them. As politicians
and lobbyists meet in secret, the
international movement to stop TTIP is growing
.

Bringing together farmers and trade
unionists, environmentalists and privacy campaigners, new and diverse
coalitions are emerging in opposition to TTIP. Protests are gathering
pace across the EU and US, with a mass arrest of 250 protesters –
including MEPs and political candidates – at the last round of
negotiations in Brussels.

On Saturday 12 July, just two days
before the next round of negotiations on TTIP, people around the UK
are coming together to say: hands off! From
Brighton to Bradford, Cardiff to Cambridge, Sheffield to Swindon,
almost 20
actions are planned
. Hundreds of people have
pledged to take creative
action ‘with a few surprises’ in central London
,
meeting outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 1
Victoria Street at 12pm. Find out about your nearest action at
www.noTTIP.org.uk


TTIP negotiators are working against
the clock. For the US this agreement must be concluded by early 2016
to avoid running up against the presidential election. We can prevent
that happening. President Obama has already been refused special
powers to negotiate the deal through congress. The European
Commission has been forced to hold a public consultation. In the UK,
MPs and MEPs who support TTIP are on the back foot and more and more
people are becoming clued-up on the threat we face. We are winning
the argument. Now, we must raise our voices together.

On 12 July, anti-cuts groups, NHS
campaigners, anti-fracking groups, major trade unions, local food
growers and many more (see the list of supporters below) will be
taking to the streets together. This is the beginning of a broad and
exciting new UK campaign, part of an international movement with the
power to defeat this agreement and strengthen the position of the
many against the few.

Join us!

www.noTTIP.org.uk
#noTTIP

The #noTTIP day of action is
supported by:

15MLondon, 350.org, Biofuelwatch,
Campaign Against Climate Change, Community Food Growers Network,
Corporate Watch, Disabled People Against Cuts, European Greens in
London, Frack Free Sussex, Frack Off London, Friends of the Earth,
Fuel Poverty Action, Globalise Resistance, GMB, Green Party London,
Green Party of England and Wales, GreenNet, IOPS, Jubilee Debt
Campaign, Keep Our NHS Public, Lewisham People Before Profit, London
Federation of Green Parties, Occupy London, Open Rights Group,
OurNHS, People & Planet, People’s Assembly Against Austerity,
Pirate Party UK, Platform, Public and Commercial Services Union
(PCS), Reclaim the Power, Red Pepper, Roj Women’s Association,
STOPAIDS, Student Stop Aids Campaign, SumOfUs, Tax-payers Against
Poverty, UK Food Group, UK Uncut, Unison, University and College
Union (UCU), War on Want, We Own It, Women’s International League
for Peace and Freedom, World Development Movement, Young Greens.


Guest blog: why I support the occupation of Westminster Abbey

This is a guest blog from Lucy, an activist from the UK Uncut London group, about why she is taking action today.

In London protesters targetted a Boots store over their tax avoidance, before moving to join disabled activists in Parliament Square

Today people from UK Uncut are supporting DPAC and Occupy as they occupy the grounds of Westminster Abbey. In this action we are opposing the government’s planned end to the Independent Living Fund. The cuts to this fund will mean that those disabled people with the highest support needs will become prisoners in their own homes or forced into institutions.

The action undertaken today may seem slightly different to the usual UK Uncut action. However, for me this is about working together to demand rights for all – not just the wealthiest or most powerful in society. This is a moment of participatory democracy in which people come together to demand rights.

For me this is personal. I grew up with narratives handed down to me by my family of visceral poverty. My granddad, one of 12, described siblings dying from treatable illnesses; of the ever-present shame and fear of the workhouse; of fear of not having enough to eat, or of being warm enough or of knowing where they would sleep. When he died in 2009 he had paid for his own funeral, the avoidance of what was for him a final shame – the paupers grave.

In his lifetime those fears were replaced with rights – the right to housing, the right to support in old age, the right to support for those who were unwell, the right to support if there was no work, rights to equal access. However imperfect these were rights nonetheless.

Today I take action because I believe that those rights have been eroded and because I do not accept the government’s claim that there is no money to fund vital public services.

I act because I am angry that corporations like Boots are enabled by our government to avoid paying taxes, while disabled people are told that they do not have the right to make decisions about their own care.

I act because I am furious that citizenship has become tied to wealth and not to fundamental rights. I am angry that we are told that the cuts are about creating choice in a market: because what kind of choice is being a prisoner at home or in residential care.

As a UK Uncut protestor I take action to seek tax justice and to ask for alternatives to the cuts. But for me this is not just a movement that seeks tax justice, it’s a movement that demands rights and equality: equality of access to education; to housing; to warmth; to physical safety and to equality before the law.

Last week I spoke to one of the DPAC protestors who will be occupying the Abbey grounds. He told me that it is getting to the stage where all rights have been removed from those with support needs, where people are committing suicide, where people feel hopeless, lost and afraid.

So I take action today in solidarity with all those that seek to put human rights and equality above profits. I take action to demand an end to the degrading, cruel and brutal austerity agenda. Please lend your support to this action and those taking part – because we all deserve those rights for which they fight.