Saturday, 24 September 2016

Green Left welcomes Jeremy Corbyn's reelection

Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership with 61.8% of vote (bbc)
Green Left welcomes Jeremy Corbyn's reelection as a step forward for Ecosocialism and calls on all left parties including the Labour Party and Green Party to form joint positions against austerity and for 1 million green jobs.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Save Mental Health Action Group Sheffield (MHAGS)

DPAC is supporting the campaign to save Mental Health Action Group Sheffield (MHAGS) from closure due to funding cuts from Sheffield Council.
MHAGS is a user led organisation run by and for MH service users, at every level including office staff. There is no where else like it locally and there are currently 250 people on their register.
Mental Health Action Group Sheffield, known as MHAGS for short,  was formed over 20 years ago as a patients campaign at the closure of an NHS day centre in Sheffield at the hands of Margaret Thatcher, in fact the closure of such NHS trust groups were some of the last legislations she passed before being deposed.
The patient campaign group fought long and hard and were successful in getting funding, and achieving charitable status, and rented a property from the Sheffield City Council in order to keep a day centre available for people with a variety of complex psychiatric and or psychological conditions.
The group have been moved several times by Sheffield Council over the years. in 1997 the council got £10million to renovate an area in city centre called the Peaces Gardens, of course  this meant relocation of the group, members say they were made to feel that they wern’t welcome in  the new and improved city centre and felt heavily discriminated against so in 1997, at one of many protests, was that the group occupied the Peace gardens to raise public awareness of their plight.
After it was nearly complete the SCC moved the group to a red light district, knowing full well that some of the members of the group had issues with substance misuse and they turned to soliciting in order to support their habits.
Members found this upsetting and distressing, they were frightened for their friends well being. After more yet campaigning, they have since been moved to more suitable premises
In the 1990’s the group pioneered a bus pass in Sheffield for MH service, they got funding for a camera and had a dark room and each pass was signed off by a psychaitrist, and printed on the premises! This then enabled a member to travel for a reduced fare or 25p it could well be that MHAGS hard work all those years ago  contributed to MH being included in mobility passes today!
Over the years they have used a variety of group therapies :
-Walking Groups
-Sewing group
-Photography group ( funding for dark room n cameras etc )
-Art group
-They go on many trips such as seaside days out or countryside walks.
-There has been two cases of group members being assisted in gaining asylum status by other group members! One of these young men who was from Eritrea went on to attend Sheffield University and now gives back to the community.
-MHAGS chair/secretary and a few other members also act as an appropriate adult when someone with MH is remanded in custody.
– The probation service used to refer people to MHAGS for support on release from prison, but council has enforced a referral system in recent years.
– a well known bakery gives surplus bread and buns in a van each week that the group then distribute to homeless people in the city.
– there is fresh meal prepared by a service user who is in their own words an honorary chef! Some members can’t cook hot food due  to disability, this is a free meal and is offered every day the centre is open, Monday – Friday, if the centre closes there will be no alternative the members will go hungry.
– There’s an IT corner and a pool table as well as a seated eating area , the value of the level of acceptance users feel and the level of social interaction is priceless, they simply wont get it anywhere else.
– The whole centre has cameras and  the monitor is  in the lounge/pool room, everyone keeps an eye on each other, there’s no security team, there`s mutual respect. It works fantastically.
Each year they group have to apply to council grants schemes for funding, it costs just £12,000 to run the group per year.

Two weeks ago the MHAGS Chairs were summoned to a meeting with the Council and they were told that their funding will end as the current grant agreement states, in April 2017.
The MHAGS reps asked about alternative funding, and were told that there is a new fund called “tackling inequalities “ that MHAGS will meet criteria for but that 1) t`s unlikely that they will receive funding as the bench mark is very high, and 2) even if they do get an award it doesn’t start until September 2017.
At best MHAGS are looking at a funding gap of £6,000 (April – Sep 2017) at worst they`re facing closure leaving 250 people isolated within their own communities with no support.

A campaign is getting under way to oppose the closure of MHAGS supported by Sheffield DPAC, the BFAWU, NUT, Sheffield Trades Council  UNITE Community Sheffield, SWP, SP, Sheffield Uncut, Sheffield Campaign against Library closure aka SCALP, and many more individual campaigners….
National DPAC are also supporting this campaign and we’ll bring updates and say how people can get involved as the campaign develops.
In the meantime please sign the petition to save MHAGS.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016



We would like to make sure you are aware of the important national demonstration to defend Libraries, Museums and Galleries. Supported by PCS, Unison, Unite, Jeremy Corbyn, Green party plus many local campaigns this is a very important national demonstration for all those who want to see an end to the attacks on our Libraries, Museums and Galleries. Please add your support


We also hope you may be able to support these protests and strikes (see below):
·         Tomorrow Thursday in support of the fourth day of strike action by PCS privatised security guards striking against private company Engie for fair pay
·         Saturday in support of workers at Ritzy Cinema fighting for the London Living Wage

Support from SERTUC Public Services Committee
Date: Thursday 22 September
Time: 9.30 – 10:30 am
Place: 5 Hatfields London SE1 8DJ.
PCS Contact: Sarah Taiwo, email: Tel: 07788 128 008

All supporters welcome even if you can only stay for short time. Please bring your  trade union banners, flags and whistles.
 On the 22 September, Met Police security guards who work for private company Engie will take their fourth day of strike action. To mark the last day of planned action, PCS members and supporters will be holding a protest outside Engie Head Office near Waterloo in central London. 
The guards, who are based at 999 control centres in Bow and Hendon rejected a 1.5% pay offer. They are suffering worsening pay, with real terms rates falling year on year. Starting salaries are now less than £22,000 in London, including working nights for no extra pay. In comparison, security guards still directly employed by the Met Police earn £31,500.
This is the first industrial action that PCS members have ever taken and each strike day since the 9 September has seen 100% turnout by members in the dispute over pay.

Other ways you can show support:
  Donate to our commercial sector hardship fund, account number: 20244707, sort code: 0-83-01
Send cheques to the PCS London and south east region, 160 Falcon Road, London SW11 2LN
Email messages of support to
More information:



Attachments area

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Firefighters, Doctors, Birmingham: Taking the opposition to the Tories.

Yesterday the shocking news was announced that The Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, was planning to dismiss ALL of it's firefighters. It would then only re-hire those willing to accept an unfair and unsafe 12 hour shift contract. The contract has had no agreement from the Fire Brigades Union who make up 95% of all Manchester firefighters. This is an absolutely disgraceful act, and sets light to the myth of an austerity slow-down, as peddled by Theresa May in her now infamous, 'a Britain not just for the privileged few' speech on the steps of Downing Street. 

If the government thinks it can force through these cuts in one of the most heavily union organised firefighting services in the country, it is obviously planning on doing this elsewhere too... But we must stand with our friends in the FBU and stop this outrage in it's tracks before it can spread. 

Please sign this petition: 'Stand with Manchester Firefighters: No to mass dismissals'

 Please sign and share as widely as you can. 

Junior Doctors are going ahead with their THIRD round of strikes next week, again over another unfair and unsafe contract. The ongoing court case that was crowd funded by the junior doctors is making headlines this week with revelations heard in court that Jeremy Hunt acted illegally over junior doctors dispute. Please also sign and share a petition of support for the striking Junior Doctors here.

It is vital that we get down to a picket line in support of this vital service. 

There should be no doubt that Theresa May plans will be as vicious as her predecessors. She has stood by Jeremy Hunt and recent events in Manchester show the utter contempt her government has for the safety, security and wellbeing of working people.

That is why it's vital to get to Birmingham for the weekend of the 1 & 2 October toProtest the Tory Party Conference
On Saturday 1 October, from 10:30am we will be hosting The People's Conference - Our Alternative to Austerity, in Birmingham Town Hall. 


Speakers include, Ken Loach Filmmaker, Salma Yaqoob Campaigner, Francesca Martinez Comedian, Yannis Gourtsoyannis Junior Doctors Committee, Kevin Courtney National Union of Teachers, Dave Ward Communication Workers Union, Malia Bouattia National Union of Students, Steve Turner Unite the Union, Sam Fairbairn People's Assembly, John Hendy QC Campaign for Trade Union Freedom, Maz Saleem Campaigner, Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition, Weyman Bennett Stand Up To Racism, Ian Hodson Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, Natalie Bennett Green Party, David Edgar Playwright, Kadisha Burrell Campaigner.

The event also includes a Special Advance Screening of Ken Loach's 'I, Daniel Blake' from 7:00pm at Cineworld Broad Street with an introduction from the director himself. 

Limited spaces available, BOOK HERE

On Sunday 2 October, from 11:30am there will be a National Demonstration, 'Tories Out, Austerity Has Failed', at Victoria Square Birmingham.  

Updated transport information can be found HERE.

See you on the streets. 

The People's Assembly Against Austerity

Disabled People Against Cuts

Disabled People Against Cuts

Contact a Family have advised the following for anyone who has a disabled child or is a carer for an older adult. We think this advice should also apply to anyone who might qualify for PIP and who hasn’t yet claimed.

Over the next ten days the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to all those families who are going to be affected by changes to the household benefit cap in November. These letters will be sent out between 19 and 29 September.
The good news is you are exempt from the benefit cap if you have a dependent child who is on either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
If you have a disabled child but haven’t claimed DLA/PIP for them yet, think about doing so now. Getting an award of DLA or PIP at any rate will mean you don’t have to worry about the benefit cap hitting your family.
If you are disabled and think you may qualify even for the lowest rates of PIP please apply now.
What is the household benefit cap?
The household benefit cap limits the total amount of benefits that an out of work family can receive. At the moment the cap is £500 a week for lone parents and couples.
However, from 7 Nov 2016 the government intends to lower this figure to £442 in London and to £384.62 elsewhere for couples and single parents with children living with them. For single people without children the cap will limit overall weekly payments to £296.35 in London and £256.69 outside Greater London.
An extra 88,000 households are expected to be affected by this lower cap. If your benefit income is above the cap then the excess amount is cut from your housing benefit, or from your Universal Credit if you get this instead. The cap is lower for single people without children.

Are families with disabled children exempt from the household benefit cap?

All families with a dependent child on DLA or PIP are exempt from the cap. It doesn’t matter what rate of DLA or PIP your child gets – even if they only get the lowest rate you will still be exempt from the cap.

Am I still protected from the cap if my son or daughter stops being treated as a dependent child?

If a disabled child aged 16 or above either leaves education, turns 20 or claims certain benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, they stop being treated as a dependent. This means that their parent may then lose their exemption from the benefit cap.
However, the government has said in the autumn it will change the benefit cap rules so that you are also exempt if you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance or get a carer element in your Universal Credit. These changes to the rules for carers will help some parents who care for a disabled young person to remain exempt from the cap despite their child no longer being a dependent. These changes for carers have already been introduced in Northern Ireland.

Benefits included in the cap

The cap applies to the total amount people in your household (you, your partner and any children living with you) get from the following benefits:
Payments towards carer’s costs in Universal Credit won’t be affected by the benefit cap from autumn 2016.

Benefits that aren’t included

You’re not affected by the cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:
If you have adult children or non-dependants living with you and they qualify for any of these benefits, you may be affected by the cap. This is because they’re not usually included in your household.
Disabled People Against Cuts

UCU London Retired Members Branch: Members' Publications, Seminars and Events

Members' Publications, Seminars and Events
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London Socialist Historians Group seminar series Autumn 2016

All in Room 304 Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet St, WC1, at5.30pm. Free without ticket - no need to book in advance. 
  • Steve Cushion: 'A Working Class Heroine Is Also Something To Be: Where women workers fit into "A Hidden History of the Cuban Revolution, How the Working Class Shaped the Guerrilla Victory"' - Monday October 10th
  • Ian Birchall: 'Lenin’s Moscow by Alfred Rosmer'  (book launch) Ian will speak on the historiography of the Communist International, and the particular relevance of Rosmer’s work to it. Monday October 24th [This book will also be presented at Bookmarks on October 4th, see below]
  • Simon Hall: '1956: The World in Revolt' Monday November 7th
  • Merilyn Moos: 'Breaking the Silence. Voices of the British Children of Refugees from Nazism' - Monday December 5th

Socialist History Society

  • Paul Frame speaks on Liberty's Apostle: the Life and Times of Richard Price 1723 - 91. Dubbed by an eminent historian as 'Britain's first left-wing intellectual' the Reverend Richard Price was a major figure in the Enlightenment.
    Saturday 1 October 2016, 2.00 - 4.00 - Marx House, 37a Clerkenwell Green, London, EC1. Admission free, retiring collection, all welcome.

UCL Institute of the Americas

  • Book launch: Transformations of Freedom in the Land of the Maroons: Creolization in the Cockpits, Jamaica by Jean Besson - October 12th 5:30 PM,  - UCL Institute of the Americas, 51 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PN
    more details...

Bookmarks Events

  • Haymarket Books have produced a new edition of Ian Birchall's translation of Alfred Rosmer’s Lenin’s Moscow. At this event Ian will be talking about how Rosmer portrayed Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev and other leading figures in the Communist International.
    Tuesday 4 October at 18.30 at Bookmarks Bookshop, 1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE
Copyright © 2016 UCU London Retired Members Branch, All rights reserved.
UCU London Retired Members Branch - members and supporters

Our mailing address is:
UCU London Retired Members Branch
53 Fladgate Road
Leytonstone, London E11 1LX
United Kingdom

Sunday, 18 September 2016

People's Assembly Against Austerity: Special Advance Screening, 'I, Daniel Blake' (with introduction from Ken Loach)

The People's Assembly is pleased to announce an exciting addition to our programme of events as part of our weekend protesting the Tory Party Conference on 1 & 2 October in Birmingham. We will be hosting a special advance screening of Ken Loach's latest award winning film, 'I, Daniel Blake.' The Screening is exclusively available to attendees of The People's Conference on Saturday 1 October.

The weekend of action includes:

The People's Conference - Our Alternative to Austerity
Saturday 1 October, 10:30am, Birmingham Town Hall, B3 3DQ

Special Advance Screening, 'I, Daniel Blake' (with introduction from Ken Loach)
Saturday 1 October, 7:00pm, Cineworld Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DA
NOTE: Spaces for the screening are limited, please book early. This screening is avaliable exclusively to attendees of the People's Conference

Book tickets here

Special thanks to Ken Loach and his team for the opportunity to show this important film in advance of its official release.
Check out the Guardian review here.

National Demonstration - 'Tories Out, Austerity Has Failed'
Sunday 2 October, 11:30am, Victoria Square Birmingham

Transport is being organised from across the country. Check website for details:


See you on the streets.

The People's Assembly Against Austerity