march 2013 issue of the commune

21 02 2013

issue 32 of the commune:





december 2012 issue of the commune

12 11 2012

Issue 31 of the commune:

Click the above image to download the pdf.





bnp humiliated in dalkeith

30 07 2012

Our comrade in the Republican Communist Network saw the BNP fail to infiltrate an anti-rapist demonstration in Midlothian

Nick Griffin and 5 others i.e. his driver and minders turned up outside Dalkeith Country Park after cancelling their planned rally in Glasgow earlier that day. Their stated aim was to support an intended rally against the presence of, convicted rapist, Robert Greens in our community. It was good that there was little spontaneous support for the BNP despite a lot of media coverage e.g. in The Sun newspaper. There was little visible presence from BNP supporters, one demonstrator counted 17, I thought there were less, but it was hard to tell, all were driven in by car. The BNP website promised 50 Nationalists would turn up and they urged other British nationalists to join them.

The BNP presence was opposed by the majority of the anti-rapist protesters plus about 30-40 local anti-fascists who had been alerted via Midlothian Trades Council. There were groups from Palestinian Solidarity, Unite Against Fascism, current and ex SSP members, trade unionists representing, Unison, EIS, UCATT, and UCU, the local FE college, independent socialists, two members of Socialist Appeal and at least one other Labour Party member. There was no identifiable SNP presence but, we did receive a message from local SNP MSP Colin Beattie supporting Midlothian Trades Council stance, saying there was no place for BNP in Midlothian and that he would have liked to have been there to show his support but had a previous appointment. In the event no councillors, MSPs or our MP were present. Read the rest of this entry »





serwotka sellout sets seal on olympic exploitation

28 07 2012

By Adam Ford

As women footballers were getting ready to unofficially kick off the London Olympics, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary was preparing to bow to ruling class pressure, and call off a strike of workers in the Border Agency, Criminal Records Bureau, and the Identity and Passport Service. In doing so, darling of the fake left Mark Serwotka was setting the seal on years of collaboration between union officialdom and the London Olympics authorities.

Brendan Barber (TUC), Sebastian Coe (Olympics) and Ed Sweeney (ACAS)

Tomorrow’s aborted strike was originally called as part of a dispute over 8,500 Home Office jobs the PCS say are at risk as a result of government cuts. Had the walkout gone ahead, it would have caused some disruption to last minute Olympics preparations, particularly with spectators, athletes and others in their entourages still arriving in the country.

Serwotka faced a storm of pressure from the right wing abuse over the strike, with the usual papers seizing on the opportunity to bash the supposed “arrogance” of workers choosing to withdraw their labour at a time when it might have most impact. As could be anticipated, the media ‘debate’ weighed heavily on the ‘national pride’ side of the Olympics, and against working class consciousness. Read the rest of this entry »





all out at preston remploy

26 07 2012

Mark Harrison visited Remploy pickets taking part in a national strike this morning

There used to be over 50 workers at the Remploy factory in Preston, now reduced to only 18, each of them was out on the picket line for the second day of their national strike, 100% turn outs were also reported at Heywood and Wigan. Support came from BAE and Rolls-Royce workers as well as teachers, passing council refuse workers and ex-Remploy workers who had taken advantage of previous redundancy packages.

The government has been Orwellian in claiming they are helping disabled people into work whilst sacking them from their jobs. In Preston the workers were shown 6 job opportunities to apply for, each of these positions turned out to already have been filled. One ex-Remploy worker had found work on the railways and promised 20 hours a week of work, only to be told upon arriving for his induction that he was only going to be offered a zero hours contract. Read the rest of this entry »





‘sexism in activism’ meeting held in liverpool

25 07 2012

By Adam Ford

Earlier this month, a group of about a dozen activists met in the Liverpool Social Centre to talk about the problem of sexism in activism. The event was organised by Angry Women Of Liverpool (AWOL), following a recent discussion of the everyday difficulties women face in groups across the left. But over the past few weeks, the issue has been pushed very much to the forefront locally, due to a number of misogynistic incidents in and around the Liverpool activist ‘scene’. This session was therefore called to discuss exactly why sexism is endemic in groups avowedly committed to equality for all.

As the meeting began, we all introduced ourselves and the organisations we were a part of, before naming women who inspire us. We were then asked to think about the gender balance within our organisations, and we discussed some ideas about what factors might play into the large male to female ratio prevalent in almost all (the notable exceptions being AWOL itself and the News From Nowhere women’s cooperative). Read the rest of this entry »





deeper into essex: how you are allowed to be in your cities

9 07 2012

Sharon Borthwick reviews Annan Minton ‘Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city’

“Town-scapes are changing. The open-plan city belongs in the past — no more ramblas, no more pedestrian precincts, no more left banks and Latin quarters. We’re moving into the age of security grilles and defensible space. As for living, our surveillance cameras can do that for us. People are locking their doors and switching off their nervous systems.”

A protest against Dow Chemical, a sponsor of the Olympics

This is a J G Ballard character in Cocaine Nights talking, yet it couldn’t be a more fitting quote to go accompany Anna Minton’s, ‘Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the twenty-first century city’, first published in 2009 and reissued this year with a new chapter on the legacy of the Olympics. I kept expecting Minton to quote Ballard at some point in the book, but she is more concerned to give voice to actual people than to characters of dystopian novels. We travel with her on her research, getting off the tube at Canary Wharf, meeting young people and youth workers in Manchester, people in Salford, Edinburgh and London, Town Planners, experts in planning law… Lets take her encounters in, Manchester, our ASBO capital apparently, where the young people have been served an especially raw deal, not allowed into pubs before the age of 25 they are wandering the streets to meet, no clubs or anywhere they can afford to hang out. But here’s the rub, if they are seen congregating together on street corners they are told to go home. The police stop and search the boys for no reason. Dispersal orders are even preventing young children from playing out in the street, one mother saying her daughter was ordered home out of the kebab shop by a cop. AM asks a simple question, what if the money was spent on facilities for them instead of enforcement? Read the rest of this entry »





where are we and where do we want to be?

7 07 2012

Ian Roberts offers his thoughts on our communist network

I write neither as a theorist nor – compared with many communards – a consistent activist.  I’ve participated in the left intermittently since the mid-1960s.  Since I have never belonged to more than three of the myriad groups it includes, I have no specific criticisms other than to observe that the presence of two members of rival groups in the same telephone box would be more likely to result in a fight over holding the receiver, the number to dial and who should speak than a successful call.

I made contact with others in Bradford after being impressed by Commune and its aim of providing an open forum for a broad spectrum of leftist thought as a foundation for action. When we hosted the aggregate in Leeds, our targets were to get agreement on a platform and constitution. The meeting was well chaired, enjoyable and – with give and take – appeared to secure unity on the issues we had hoped to. Its aftermath, however, was dire. My inbox was inundated with theocratic dissent from – and proposed amendments to – what had been agreed. Read the rest of this entry »





huge protests force chinese government retreat over pollution

6 07 2012

By Adam Ford

Shifang demonstrators squaring off against riot cops earlier in the week

Locals are celebrating in the Chinese city of Shifang today, following the government’s decision to scrap its plans for a copy alloy plant which many feared would poison them. This sensational policy reversal was apparently forced out of the Communist Party dictatorship by rioting, followed by a sit-in in support of those arrested. In making this concession, the regime has shown its vulnerability at a time when the national economy is being hit by the economic crisis in Europe and the US. Read the rest of this entry »





roving picket against workfare in london this saturday

4 07 2012

As part of the National Week of Action Against Workfare from July 7th to 14th, some members of The Commune are helping to organise direct action against workfare’s main offenders.

Meet this Saturday July 7, mid day near Goodge St station.

Workfare isn’t just unpaid labour for the unemployed and a major attack on benefits. It is an attack on all working people – on their jobs, pay & conditions, and their ability to organise. We need to fight workfare together, whether or not we are in work, and whether or not we are on benefits.

Invite your friends, family, campaigning group, union branch. Also, if you can, bring things to liven it up: banners, placards, musical instruments and noise makers.

The leaflets we’ll be using are found below (print some and bring them along if you can) Read the rest of this entry »





spanish miners strike back against austerity

30 06 2012

By Adam Ford

Two sets of miners have now been occupying their workplace for a month

Spanish miners are now a month into action against the Popular Party government, and behind them the international banking aristocracy, as they demonstrate against 60% cuts in subsidies, which are expected to result in the loss of 40,000 jobs. Read the rest of this entry »





who killed anthony grainger?

18 06 2012

By Mark Harrison

Yesterday I attended an important action in support of the friends and families of those killed at the hands of the police, as part of the #justice4grainger campaign. Around 60 people gathered in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens and similar events were held around the country. A passionate speech was made by Anthony’s mother (see above) and she was presented with a portrait of her son by a local artist. Other important speeches were then made by Janet Alder (sister of Christopher Alder, killed by the police whilst half naked and after being racially abused) and campaigners who seek to reform Joint Enterprise law. These include Mohammed Riaz, served 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Read the rest of this entry »





made in rochdale: exported globally

15 06 2012

Scumboni offers a radical defence of worker co-operatives

The late development of theory around worker, producer and community co-operatives could be one explanation for the widespread indifference of communists to this part of the working class movement.(1) In the UK, ignorance about its reach, nature and significance contrasts with an apparently inexhaustible, tailending-the-left fascination with party or group politics and rank-and-file trade unionism. Yet people are often ready with an ideological view of co-ops; they are self-exploitation, or bourgeois, or prefigure communism, or impossible, and so on. Read the rest of this entry »





sparks show the way

15 06 2012

This month’s editorial is written by Adam Ford and compares the workers that are winning, and those who are not

The wildly different trajectories of two recent industrial disputes provides us with an almost perfect lesson in both how they can be won and how they are generally lost. In both cases, the workers were members of the Unite union, as are around three million others in the UK, and in both cases the industry concerned was what might be called a ‘blue collar’ one. But one won, and is winning, while another lost badly. Read the rest of this entry »








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