Category Archives: Uncategorized

Save Edmund Street Day Centre

The campaign has received coverage in the Telegraph and Argus, who took this photo - their article can be read at http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/14728760.Campaigners_hit_out_at_day_shelter_move/?commentSort=score

The campaign has received coverage in the Telegraph and Argus, who took this photo – their article can be read at http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/14728760.Campaigners_hit_out_at_day_shelter_move/?commentSort=score

Socialist Party members in Bradford have spent the last weeks mobilising against the closure of the Edmund Street day centre after it came to our attention that it will close on December 1st after the council transfered funding for the service to another provider.

Peter Robson, Bradford Socialist Party

The move comes after Bradford (Labour) Council in it’s wisdom awarded the contract to the Salvation Army, who run a smaller building some mile and a half outside the city centre up a steep hill. This is a disgraceful situation.

The Day Centre has been in existence for 40 years since it opened it’s doors in 1976 to the disposed, poor and homeless of Bradford and it’s district. The Probation Service, Social Services and the NHS have often made referrals to there, with it literally keeping people alive at times. With the benefits cuts also kicking in now you can see the issues in Cities and towns like this up and down the nation, many service users have also said that they will not be able to get to the new centre due to finance or health issues and of course, winter is around the corner.

However, it is not only the service users that are worried, as the staff not being guaranteed and security under this transfer and often we know what Tupe means, a lesser service for these people and a race to the bottom on terms and conditions.

And what was Bradford councils response, they said it was awarded to the Salvation Army after a competitive tendering process. And there is the problem, people and vulnerable people at that have become pawns in a ‘competitive tendering process’ which takes no account of their needs – this just a money saving exercise if council were honest.

This Labour run council is sitting on millions of pounds of reserves, and their response has always been when  challenged  is that this is for a rainy day. Well, to continue the metaphor, it is a torrent now, they should be using it to fund services and building a campaign to win the necessary funding for the city.

Please like the Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/Save-Edmund-Street-Day-centre-938191652974461 and support the progress of this essential campaign to save a truly important service. And look for details of the public meeting we will call soon!

Advertisements

#A28 Fast Food Rights Campaign Day of Action

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs & Education

Leeds Fast Food Rights protest Leeds Fast Food Rights protest, photo courtesy of Erika Sykes

Youth Fight for Jobs activists alongside other supporters of the Fast Food Rights campaign, initiated by the Baker’s, Food & Allied Workers Union, took part in a day of action up and down the country on August 28th.

Iain Dalton, Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs Organiser

Protests were organised in 8 towns and cities across Yorkshire and  coincided with a day of strike action amongst fast food workers in the USA in their campaign for secure jobs, decent conditions and a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Signing petition for an end to zero hour contracts at the Sheffield protest Signing petition for an end to zero hour contracts at the Sheffield protest

Where we ran stalls, they were often mobbed by people agreeing with our demands to scrap zero hour contracts and to raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour.

5 local radio stations interviewed YFJ and BFAWU activists, whilst several local…

View original post 150 more words

Fast Food Rights Comes to Bradford

Yorkshire Youth Fight for Jobs & Education

Bradford Fast Food Rights protest Bradford Fast Food Rights protest

McDonalds on Kirkgate was the target of the Bradford Fast Food Rights protest organised by Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) on Saturday 28th June. We leafletted outside the shop for around an hour, where we met a whole host of people interested in finding out more. One worker from a local restaurant took away recruitment forms for the rest of the staff at his workplace. On a number of occasions, people who took our leaflet turned around after reading the slogans ‘For a living wage of £10 an hour’ and ‘Scrap Zero Hour Contracts’ and indicated their support.

To round of the protest, Iain Dalton, Yorkshire YFJ Organiser, thanked everyone for attending and introduced Ian Hodson, National President of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) which has iniated the Fast Food Rights campaign. He pointed to the billions McDonalds earns every year, and…

View original post 52 more words

Disabled activists protest in Bradford

Hardest Hit protest in Centenary Square, Bradford

Hardest Hit protest in Centenary Square, Bradford

Around 25 people, mostly from the Bradford Disabled Peoples Forum, held a ‘Hardest Hit’ protest in Centenary Square, Bradford on Friday 2nd November.

Paul Anderson, a member of the forum, stated that whilst they were also handing over to leaders of political groups on the council Hardest Hit’s new report ‘The Tipping Point’ (see article discussing the report – http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/campaign/Disability/Disabled/15592), they were also there to oppose “disabled people and their families paying for an economic crisis they didn’t cause.”

Iain Dalton, brought greetings from the Socialist Party, stating how the anger of disbaled people at the attacks raining down on them should be reflected by building a mass campaign of diabled people with further protests in other towns and cities. He also highlighted that alongside disabled people, low paid workers, young people and others were facing the burden of savage cuts to jobs, public services and benefits and called for those there to link up with the trade unions when they protest and take strike action against the cuts

Five copies of the new issue of the Socialist were sold.

Hundreds Protest in Bradford Over US Drone Attacks in Pakistan

George Galloway addressing the protest

George Galloway addressing the protest

Around 400 people protested against ongoing US drone attacks in North West Pakistan on Friday, 14th Septmber. Over the past few years thousands have died from such attacks with many of whom being civilians.

Despite being organised by the Bradford Global Justice Movement, it was clear the main movers behind the protest were the Respect Party, with Green Party convert Dawud Islam chairing the rally, and local MP George Galloway being the main speaker. This comes after a series of other protests and movements in the city which have been inspired directly and indirectly by Respects electoral gains in the city.

Speakers at the rally took up a wide range of issues with Dawud Islam criticising the Obama regime who are responsible for around three times as many drone attacks as there were under Bush.

Sarah Cartin, vice chair of CND, pointed out that the UK government itself is spending £500m on drones in Afghanistan. Yvonne Ridley explained how the drone attacks have led to increased recruitment to groups like the Taliban.

An advert for the protest

An advert for the protest

Imran Khan, the former cricketer turned politician, who plans to lead a march against the drone attacks through Waziristan, one of the areas hit most severely by the attacks. Whilst this was plugged, he was introduced as the chairman of the PTI (Movement for Justice), a populist nationalist party that he founded and was a former MP for.

George Galloway MP was the final speaker. Before talking about the issues at hand he launched into a tirade against his recent critics including calling for a boycott of the local Telegraph and Argus newspaper.

After that he quite correctly pointed out that the recent attacks on US embassies where not just a product of a film that was “a filthy, dirty attack on 2.2bn muslims around the world” but also about the imperialist policies that the US government carries out throughout the middle east and, indeed, the rest of the world.

Galloway called on the Pakistan government to demand the US stops the drone attacks and if ot doesn’t then to expel the US ambassador.

But socialists would go further than this. According to documents released by Wikileaks, top Pakistani army generals have tacitly supported drone strikes and in 2008 even asked the US to increase them. We’ve also seen this week the horrible deaths in a fire of hundreds of factory workers where profit mongering bosses skimped on safety measures.

The tops of Pakistani society preside over a rampant capitalist nightmare in Pakistan and are also tied by a thousand threads to the US imperialists. A mass movement of the Pakistani working class and peasantry would be needed to force out of power these props of capitalism and US imperialism, taking into public ownership the big monopolies and running them in the interests of workers and the poor rather than profit. A socialist Pakistan as part of a socialist world would be necessary to end war abd terror in the region for good.

Iain Dalton

Bradford Protest Over Galloway’s Offensive Remarks About Rape

On Saturday, 1st September around 100 men and women gathered in Bradford city centre to protest over, Respect MP for Bradford West, George Galloway’s, ridiculous and offensive comments about rape.

In a recent podcast about the current allegations against Julian Assange, Galloway said that: “even if the allegations made by these two women… were 100% true… they don’t constitute rape.” He describes the allegations as no more than “bad sexual etiquette.” If you “go to bed” with someone then you are in “the sex game” with them and he says that you should not need “to be asked prior to each insertion”.

Galloway’s remarks, rightly, almost immediately sparked outrage across the country both outside and inside his party, Respect. Salma Yaqoob, leader of Respect said his remarks were “deeply disappointing and wrong.” Despite this condemnation from his own party Galloway has yet to apologise for his comments.

Due to this the activists involved in Bradford About Consent organised this protest in order to show Galloway the anger his words had sparked amongst his constituents, to try and put pressure on him to give a full apology as well as educate people about the realities of rape and sexual assault in this country.

The protestors also used this opportunity to argue against groups like the EDL using rape of woman to further their own agenda, rightly calling out attempts to frame rape and sexual assault as something emblematic of certain races or religions.

Unfortunately, despite this, the speakers tried to discourage any attempts to link these issues with the current political situation. This was partly due to early accusations that this was a Labour Party fronted protest leading to organisers to declare the protest had no political affiliation: outright banning any kind of political banners or placards.

The speakers also avoided commenting on Galloway’s ableist ‘window lickers’ tweet, despite a number of protestors showing up with placards about this; if these movements united fully they would have placed much, much more pressure on Galloway.

This led the protest to lack a clear forward direction to build upon its initial success and push forward the fight against sexual violence. Even if it does pressure Galloway into an apology, his comments are a drop in an ocean of rape apologism:  other politicians and even comedians, such as Jimmy Carr, have been in the news recently for similar comments or jokes. Galloway, or any of these other individuals, apologising would be a positive step as it would highlight how unacceptable such remarks are, but that alone will not end rape and sexual assault.

That will take a united movement with political direction: fighting the cuts, many of which are making women feel more at risk on the streets (such as turning street lights off to save money), and putting forward a political alternative to the parties making these cuts. We need a united campaign of women and men, trade unions and the working class actively fighting back against sexual violence and sexism in all its forms, as well as fighting for real change to the current system that is allowing sexism to flourish, for these issues to ever become a thing of the past.

Michael Johnson, Leeds City & Bradford Socialist Party

Occupy Westfield evicted, but fight must go on

YFJ joins Occupy Westfield activists protesting outside court

YFJ joins Occupy Westfield activists protesting outside court

Members of Leeds Youth Fight for Jobs joined a solidarity protest with the Occupy: Westfield group outside Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday 3rd July. The group have been occupying the area in the city centre where Westfield had started laying down foundations for a new shopping centre, more commonly known as ‘the Bradford hole’, and like the derelict Odeon building on the other side of town, is seen by many in town as a symbol of the city’d economic decline. The occupiers were in court as Westfield were seeking a possession order for the site.

Occupy Westfield had been established in May, shortly after the election of five Respect councillors in the local elections, and prior to that of George Galloway as Respect MP for Bradford West. Unemployment, stands at 6% in Bradford, higher then both the regional average of 4.9% and the UK average of 3.9%, whilst youth unemployment has increased alomst 30% in the last year, now at 11.1%, again higher than the UK average of 8.3%. For a town that has seen a decline in its economy and prospects of young people, Galloway’ election victory marked a political earthquake and the Westfield occupation is but the first major repercussion on the life of the town of this.

In 2003 Stannifer became the guarantor for a retail development project on the site, who were soon bought out by Chelsfield who in turn were quickly acquired by Australian shopping centre group, Westfield. It was Westfield who, in 2007, mothballed the development claiming they could not secure enough pre-lets and anchor tenants. The latest plans, supposedly close to completion around a year ago, would see a smaller shopping centre, but there doen’t even seem to be any real progress on even this scaled back development. Whilst Westfield can find £1,743m to invest in a shopping centre in Stratford near the Olympic site, they can’t come up with the lesser amount of £345m to invest in Bradford.

In response a group of young Bradfordians occupied the site, demanding that the site be developed immediately. Initially, official society attempted to ignore them, they did gain a meeting with the new leader of Bradford council, only for the council to tell them there was nothing they can do, the original contract didn’t include any provisions for penalty clauses etc.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Westfield seem to have little immediate interest in developing the site, let alone developing the site in a manner of providing facilities that would be a real boon to Bradford. Instead they have persued the occupiers, going through eviction proceedings no doubt with the hope of silencing their campaign. After Westfield were granted a possession order, the occupiers have decided to leave the site, but are camping on the ‘Urban Garden’ which surrounds the site and have vowed to continue the campaign.

The next step must be to demand that the land is removed from the control of Westfield and developed in a socially useful way for the people of Bradford. The council could compulsory purchase the land (the council estimates this would cost £80m), but we would argue that Westfield deserves no compensation given their failure to develop the land and the associated consequences of that (a 2007 report concluded that the failure to develop the site had stifled the cities economic development). A democratic plan for the site could be drawn up by local community groups, trade unions, the occupiers and others as to how the site could be developed.

No doubt the Labour leadership of the council, who have implemented cuts budgets the last two years will say there is no money for this. But this is only because they are refusing to fight the imposition of the Con-Dem cuts, instead of organising a mass campaign to demand the funding the city needs. In the 1980s, the group of 49 councillors on Liverpool City Council refused to implement Thatcher’s cuts and their mass campaign gained the funding to build new houses, leisure centres, nurseries as well as creating council apprenticeships and new parks amongst other things. If Liverpool could do that then, why can’t Bradford do this now?

Given the support that Respect councillors have offered the occupiers, and being elected on a platform of opposing cuts and being in favour of the regeneration of the city, they could be asked to table a motion to this effect at the next full council meeting. The occupiers and other could organise a mass lobby of councillors as they enter the meeting, and they could also use the opportunity to present a petition to this effect to the council. Such a course of action would clearly show which side the councillors were on – developing thecity to imporve the prospects of workers and youth or on the side of the profit-mongering multinationals.

Over 20,000 have signed the occupiers petition in support of them, and as we marched up from the occupation site to the courts we saw people applauding us and joining the protest. It is clear on whose side the ordinary working people of Bradford are on.

Iain Dalton, Youth Fight for Jobs – Yorkshire Organiser