Monday, August 16, 2010

Hiroshima commemoration events

Hiroshima commemoration events
A series of events will take place around Scotland to mark the anniversaries of the use of the first atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some of these are linked to Scotland's Walk for Peace which is taking place throughout August. (Peace walk details: )

Floating 200 peace lanterns on the River Dee at 8.30 pm at the Fisherman's hut, betwen Bridge of Dee and Duthie Park, off Riverside Drive. Aberdeen CND

Dundee CND will hold their annual walk up Dundee Law to mark the Hiroshima anniversary on Friday 6 August. Gather at the foot of the Law at 8 pm and march off at 8.30 pm. Speakers: John McAllion plus Labour, SNP and Trade Union representatives.

Vigil outside St John's Church, Princes St, 11 am Sunday 8 August. Edinburgh CND

Thursday 5 August - Peace Walk arrives in Glasgow from Rutherglen (see below)
Friday 6 August - 7 pm Rally at the Peace Tree, Kelvingrove Park (opposite Kelvin Hall) 7 pm. Speakers and music followed by floating flowers and paper cranes on the River Kelvin, joined by peace walkers. Glasgow West CND.
Saturday 7 August - Peace Walk from Govan to Dumbarton.

Friday 6 August - gather 8.30 pm at the Cherry Trees in front of Victoria Halls and travel to Rhu Spit to float paper lanterns at 9.15 pm.
Sunday 8 August - Scotland's Peace Walk from Dumbarton to Helensburgh (12 noon) and then Faslane
Monday 9 August - Peace Walk from Faslane Peace Camp to Coulport; 9 pm vigil at Coulport to mark the Nagasaki anniversary.
Tuesday 10 August - 7 am vigil at Coulport then Peace Walk from Coulport to Helensburgh. 6 pm social with walkers in the United Reformed Church, Helensburgh, followed by a meeting at 7.30 pm.
Wednesday 11 August - 9 am - walkers set off from Helensburgh.
Helensburgh CND.

Street stall near Bridgegate House in the town centre at 11 am Saturday 7 August. Ayrshire CND.

Gathering in Barshaw Park Peace Garden, behind Barshaw House, at 7.30 pm on Friday 6 August. Meeting at the car park entrance from Glasgow Road. Speaker John McDowell, former provost. Renfrewshire CND.

Rededication of Peace Tree, Main Street, Rutherglen (opposite town hall), 12 noon Thursday 5 August. Joined by walkers on Scotland's Walk for Peace. Rutherglen CND.

Conference with the Peace Walk on nuclear weapons convoys. 2 pm Saturday 14 August, Methodist Church, Queen St, Stirling. Stirling CND

Friday, August 6, 2010

LRC statement on the Labour leadership

Was glad to hear of this development, it is important all sections of the left in the Labour Party, organised or not, back the only socialist candidate in the leadership election. The Labour Representation Committee issued the following stateent August 9th 2010...

The LRC has written to all candidates in the Labour leadership contest, asking them their views on three key issues:

The immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan;
Complete opposition to public sector cuts and further privatisation of public services so that ordinary people to do not pay for the economic crisis; and
The fight for trade union freedom so that we can protect ourselves at this difficult time – including supporting John McDonnell’s Private Members Bill to tackle employers taking trade unions to courts over minor irregularities in the balloting process.

We also asked them about the nomination process for Labour leadership elections. Responses have so far been received from Diane Abbott andDavid Miliband, which you can download.

Following further consideration, the LRC has decided to critically support Diane Abbott for Labour leader

LRC statement on Labour leadership

The Parliamentary Labour Party disenfranchised thousands of Labour Party members and trade unionists by not nominating John McDonnell – the most credible left candidate with the most grassroots support, and consistent champion of socialist policies in Parliament.

A complete democratic transformation of our party is needed to ensure power lies with the many and not the few, and reform of the nomination process for Leader must be an urgent part of this campaign. Nomination must be the right of all sections of the Party, not just MPs.

However, the voting record of Diane Abbott and some of her policy positions makes her the only candidate with a left track-record in the Labour leadership election. Indeed all the other candidates were New Labour cabinet ministers who never dissented when in office from the policies that alienated Labour supporters.

In response to correspondence from the LRC, Diane stated that she is “calling for withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan”, in “complete opposition to the Lib Con cuts” and “supporting John McDonnell’s trade union freedom bill”.

However we do have concerns that her statements throughout this campaign have not been consistent. For example she has publicly stated on several occasions that she supports a phased withdrawal from Afghanistan, and wants 50% of government budget ‘savings’ to be found by cuts to public services.

We urge members of the Party, affiliated unions and socialist societies to vote for Diane as their first preference, but to call on her to be more consistent in her opposition to cuts in public services and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. We also urge her to cooperate with all sections of the left to help achieve these aims.

The Keir Hardie Society Meets

The inaugural meeting of the Keir Hardie Society yesterday afternoon was an unqualified success with socialists and labour movement activists from the Labour Party, other parties and no party at all coming together to celebrate the life and works of Labour's first leader on his birthday at Summerlee Heritage Museum in Coatbridge.

After a minute's silence to mark the recent death of that other colossus of the labour movement, Jimmy Reid, the meeting was given the apologies of Tony Benn who has agreed to be the Society's honorary president. The meeting Chair was Hugh Gaffney of North Lanarkshire Trades Union Council.

The first speaker was Jackson Cullinane , Deputy Regional Secretary for Unite. He focused on the importance of drawing lessons from Keir Hardie's life for today in fighting for fair conditions for working people and opposing casual labour just Hardie himself did. The view Hardie had of unemployment as not merely a symptom of capitalism but something exploited by capitalists to drive down wages and working conditions is still as relevant today as it ever was and in the light of the contrasting views there are of the future of trade unions is especially important. He argued that a movement must be built to oppose the savage cuts now imminent in the public sector and that we should be working towards the biggest turnout possible for the Scottish Trades Union Congress's protest in Edinburgh on October the 23rd.

Next the meeting heard from Cathy Jamieson, MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and the new MP for Kilmarnock and Loudon. She highlighted Hardie's support for women's suffrage , home rule, the co-operative movement and was determined to carry on the fights he would have fought today such as opposing the ConDem government's policies on the Independent Living Fund and the Future Jobs Fund.

Bob Holman, author of a new book about Hardie, brought out the influence of Christianity on Hardie and how he viewed socialism as a means of putting the values of the Sermon on the Mount into practice but also recognised that many socialists were non-believers and respected them as comrades in the struggle for a more just society.

Finally, Richard Leonard, Political Officer for the GMB in Scotland spoke. He insisted it was important we celebrate we history of the labour movement through the life and works of Keir Hardie and that we faced the same struggles today as were faced then. The organisational response to this should be a Keir Hardie Society to keep alive Hardie's ideas and promote his writings and activities. Where appropriate we could work with public bodies to increase the profile of Hardie with monuments, education, perhaps even regular festivals to celebrate every aspect of his life through the arts.

I look forward to playing a full as role as I can in the Keir Hardie Society. Fortunate as I was to learn more than some about him while I was at school, I want to know more and I want everyone to know about the man who many say was Labour's greatest leader.
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