Sunday, January 29, 2012

Due to the misinformation peddled by the right wing press there’s a change to our public meeting 31 January.

The revised theme for this meeting will be:

8pm,Tuesday 31st January 2012

* Busting the benefits myths *
* Are bankers the real scroungers? *

Panel of national trade union and campaign guest speakers inc:

* SUE MARSH – welfare & disability rights writer & campaigner                     * TONY MORRIS – local sheltered housing campaigner
* Speaker from PCS union representing Job Centre workers
* Local people facing welfare cuts

People on benefits are not living mansions with 2 swimming pools and 5 jags in the garage as the ConDems supporters make out. Welfare claimants are already struggling to feed themselves and their kids following this governments mishandling of the economy and this struggle will be magnified with upcoming/proposed changes in welfare and housing benefits. More on the right hand side bar.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

As we said in our brief review of the past year's events just before Xmas (repeated below if you missed it!) -2011 saw growing resistance in the UK  to cuts and austerity and the rule of the '99%' - as across the globe.  In 2012 WSN intends to carry on supporting every single local anti-cuts campaign and workers' dispute, and be prepared to initiate campaigns too if the need arises.  We want to continue exposing the tax dodgers and pushing our alternative to cuts, showing  international solidarity with our counterparts fighting back across the globe, and to oppose the poison of racism if it rears its ugly head again in our town. 

Lots of new people have got involved in WSN over the past year too, and we want to keep ensuring that WSN meetings and activities feel as open as possible to everyone - from seasoned activists to those feeling pushed to do something for the first time.  All of this requires being well organised, and ensuring that everyone who wants to can play a part and have their say. 

We are therefore holding our first WSN Annual Meeting this month:
- to look at the big picture and sort of issues we're likely to be facing this year (with an invited guest speaker)
- to work out our priorities for local campaigning over the next few months
- to elect a group of people to help run WSN (we don't like the word 'committee'!) who can take on specific roles in making sure from week to week that actions not talk are our main focus, and that what we do is as well organised and well publicised in advance as possible.
Your ideas for WSN's activities this year are very welcome.  Please let us have any specific proposals by midday on Friday 13th January at the latest so we've got time to print out copies etc. Proposals received in advance will get priority for debate, though if we have time we'll try to consider any proposals raised on the day.  These can be as simple or lengthy as you like (we'd prefer the former!), and can be about WSN's general 'policy' around certain issues, about specific initiatives or actions, or about how we run WSN.
We'll be looking to elect as a minimum:
- A chairperson
- A secretary
- A treasurer
- A media contact
- Online/social media coordinator
- Campaign coordinators (e.g. NHS, disability, etc.)
If you're brave or daft enough to put yourself forward for any of the above roles, again please let us know by midday on Friday 13th Jan so we can plan that part of the meeting.
Hope you can make it along to join us.  Please do pass on this invitation to any friends, family or workmates who might be interested.
Solidarity forever!

A long year of campaigning against Tory cuts and austerity measures draws to a close - WSN in 2011
Growing resistance in the UK has become part of inspiring global opposition to injustice and inequality - from the Arab Spring that unfolded in Egypt, Tunisia and beyond in January and February to the mass revolt against a bankers' Europe in Greece, Spain and Ireland, and finally the emergence of the 'Occupy' movement in many countries, drawing attention to the way the '1%' are robbing the '99%' blind.
WSN supporters, as we set out to do nearly two years ago, have continued to throw ourselves into the many campaigns against cuts, and into organising solidarity for workers beginning to fight back.  We have tried hard to get across our alternative to cuts - for tax justice and making the wealthiest pay their way.  The vast majority of Saturdays have seen a consistent and strong anti-cuts voice in Worthing town centre in the shape of the WSN stall.  We've campaigned around the closure of day centres, the withdrawal of County Council support for 4,000 adults with learning difficulties, the reduction of services at Worthing & Southlands Hospitals, the introduction of tuition fees and scrapping of EMA, the attempted privatisation of the NHS and the Royal Mail, and in support of many groups of workers taking industrial action.  We opposed attempts by fascists like the BNP to set up shop in our town and thus divert some of the anger about cuts in a racist direction.  And we've strongly supported the establishment, for the first time in over 20 years, of a Trades Union Council in Worthing.
In March, two months' hard work by WSN and local unions culminated in around 400 people from Worthing travelling up to what became an historic 750,000-strong TUC demonstration against the cuts in London - "March for the Alternative" - the biggest-ever show of public strength from trade unions in Britain. 
At the end of June, WSN worked with the PCS, NUT, UCU and ATL to organise a Trade Union family event in Steyne Gardens on the day of the first major strike against the ConDems - over pension changes.
And of course, just two weeks ago, on "N30", WSN played an important role in promoting an even bigger event in Worthing - the largest trade union gathering in the town in living memory - as three million public sector workers went on strike over pensions.  WSN worked succesfully to link the strike over pensions with other groups in our town under attack from the government - like young people, the unemployed, the disabled, and pensioners - groups who were all represented and spoke at the brilliant strike rally in a packed St Pauls Centre on the day.  The report on South Today TV News commented on how much community support there seemed to be for the strike day in Worthing!
All of this is done entirely by volunteers and on an absolute shoestring!  We'd like to thank everyone who's given some time up for WSN this year, as well as our trade union affiliates and donors, and those who have made individual contributions, however small - which help keep the anti-cuts material, and the case for our alternative to cuts, going out to the people of Worthing.  

There is no doubt a similar, if not even more busy, year ahead, with this government showing little sign of changing course.  We need to redouble our efforts, and above all we need a bigger movement against what our rulers are attempting to do to ordinary people.  The alternative could very serious indeed - at best, the Tories could take social provision in this country back to pre-1945 levels, and at worst their crazy economics and the greed of their banker and corporate friends could cause a double-dip recession that makes the 1930s look like a boom era.
So please - make a New Year's resolution to come along to a meeting or a stall, listen and contribute to the arguments, and get involved, in whatever way you can!