No to Benefit Cuts! No to the Bedroom Tax! No to Workfare!

For decades our public services have come under attack from the cuts and privatisations of successive governments. Since the bankers’ crisis began, this assault has become an all-out war on the welfare state, under the guise of ‘reducing debt’.

So far the cuts have fallen heaviest on those most in need. Sick & disabled people & lone parents of young children have been forced onto the dole queue. Older people are joining them as their pensions vanish out of sight. As austerity bites, unemployment has soared, but instead of taking action the government treats the jobless as an army of unpaid labour, imposing workfare schemes which are not only an attack on the unemployed, but on all workers; threatening jobs, rights, pay and conditions.

Cuts to in-work benefits such as Housing Benefit have now started hitting working individuals and families.  The introduction of Universal Credit, the abolition of Working Tax Credits, and draconian overall benefit caps will plunge many more into poverty and homelessness, with massive social consequences.

To justify itself, the government has intensified its propaganda against ‘lazy’ claimants in an attempt to make us forget the real causes of the financial crisis. But the assault on welfare has nothing to do with benefit fraud (minimal compared to tax fraud). While those in work are pitched against those out of work, vast sums of public money are being redirected towards private companies to provide inferior services, and big businesses have been rewarded with tax cuts and with free labour on workfare: this government and their millionaire friends have never had it so good!

In the face of such a comprehensive assault by those in power, it is easy to despair.  Yet campaigners against workfare, including Brighton Benefits Campaign, & nationally Boycott Workfare & Solidarity Federation, have recently proved that fighting back does achieve results. Pickets, phone blockades & other actions against the businesses who use free labour have had substantial effects, because, in this period of economic crisis, business profits are vulnerable to bad publicity and consumer boycott.

The time is ripe for resistance. There is increasing anger among the victims of this austerity.  The blanket imposition of the ‘bedroom tax’ (which will see many in social housing faced with a choice of pay more or move out) has started uniting groups all over the country.  There is a tide of protests against the new draconian conditions imposed on sickness and disability benefits. The campaign against workfare has now attracted the attention of national media. At the same time, public sector workers and service users have been protesting against cuts to services and jobs.

Campaigns have so far have tended to concentrate on single issues, separating protesters into lobby groups & losing the broad picture.  We need to see each cut as a piece of a puzzle – taken together they make up a picture of a huge, consistent attack against us all, orchestrated by the wealthiest.

We are under attack but with solidarity we can win. We all have an interest in fighting cuts. The media encourage division & a culture of blame, targeting those most in need, while the millionaires in government & their wealthy friends get away with daylight robbery.  This crisis was not caused by the poor, the sick, the unemployed, immigrants, public service workers, trade unions, single parents, students, pensioners or working people, but by the greed of those who control our economy & our society purely in their own interest. Why, then, are we paying for it?

Join us in fighting back!

https://www.facebook.com/events/449552485116401/

WEEK OF ACTION AGAINST WORKFARE

Friday 22 March
Universal Jobmatch picket & leafleting
meet 11am Jobcentre, Edward Street Brighton
to be followed by
Anti-workfare picket of Scope
one of the ‘charities’ still exploiting forced labour

Saturday 23 March
Anti-workfare picket of Poundland
meet Clock Tower 12 noon

all events organised by Brighton Benefits Campaign

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Upcoming Events

Monday 18th February
NUJ Strike at the BBC
Pickets 5am – 10am Queens Road Brighton

Tuesday 26th February
Stop March for England: Planning Meeting
6pm Community Room, Under the Bridge Studios, 7 Trafalgar Arches

Tuesday 26th February
Stop Council Cuts Public Meeting
7:30pm Brighthelm Centre – Organised By Brighton and Hove Unison

Thursday 28st February
Lobby Brighton Council Against Cuts
3:30pm Brighton Town Hall – Organised By Brighton and Hove Unison

Friday 1st March
PCS DVLA Walkout
2pm Trafalgar Street

Thursday 7th March
Defend the NHS – Public Meeting
7pm Friends Meeting House, Ship Street

Saturday 16rd March
Keep Our NHS Public Mass Petition Against Local NHS Privatisation

Week Beginning 18th March
Week of Action Against Workfare
Details TBC

Wednesday 27th March
Brighton and Hove Trades Union Council AGM
Guest Speaker Matt Wrack FBU General Secretary
Venue TBC
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Jan 2013 Events!

Upcoming Events

Wednesday 9th January
Protest against NHS Job Losses
Midday Royal Sussex County Hospital
Wednesday 9th January
Brighton Trades Union Council Meeting – Defending Facilities Time
King and Queen 8pm
Monday 21st January
Stop the Cuts Organising Meeting
If you are involved in an anti-cuts group or anti-austerity action make sure you come along!
7:30pm Venue TBC
Saturday 2nd February
Voices against the Cuts – Women and Austerity
Public event hosted by Brighton Women Against Cuts
Great speakers - Caroline Lucas, Olufemi Hughes – Community dialogue for change, Katie Love and Shana Pezaro – Fed Independent Living centre, Gail Gray RISE, Rehana Azam GMB National officer, Mary Ann Stephenson – Coventry women’s voices and author of TUC Women and the Cuts Toolkit.

Workshops include – art and activism; using the media; benefits – support and campaigning; Women and safety; Women in the public sector; Setting up women’s network; NHS – building the campaign; non violent direct action.

Brighthelm centre North Road, on Saturday 2nd February 1pm – 4pm (doors open 12 30) Crèche available
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A final Pre-Christmas Protest This Saturday!

Saturday 15th December
Brighton + Hove Women Against Cuts Alternative Christmas Carolling
Come along and tell the local Tory MPs what we want for Christmas!
11am Hove Town Hall
Saturday 15th December
Christmas Anti-Workfare Protest!
Meet midday at the Clock Tower by Churchill Square
With the workfare programme forcing people to work for free some shops have stopped taking on paid Christmas temps this year. Workfare destroys jobs! This protest will target the workfare offenders!
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Protest Lib Dem Conference Brighton!

Meet Midday 22nd September
The Level, Union Road, Brighton

Austerity Government Must GO!

This government has embarked on an unprecedented programme of cuts and privatisation. Schools, Hospitals, Councils, Benefits, the welfare state is torn apart while jobs are lost and pay is cut. Debt reduction through austerity in Britain and across Europe has now been proved not to reduce deficits, but it is part of a massive transfer of wealthy from the poorest to the very richest. The Lib-Dems prop up a government that has seen the wealth of the richest 1000 people increase by £78bnsince they took office. This is the party who pledged to scrap tuition fees and protect EMA, yet EMA has gone and tuition fees have been tripled. Join your local trade union and anti-cuts movement Midday Saturday 22nd September at the Level to say no to austerity government and show the Lib-Dems they will not be forgiven for their support for it.

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Brighton Anti-Cuts Events

A list of events coming up in Brighton.

September will see two large events in Brighton, a lobby of the TUC on the 9th and a Demonstration outside the Liberal Democrat Conference on the 22nd.
Details below:


Sat 4th August Anti McNulty Railway Cuts demonstration
Lewes railway station on at 10:30 to 12:00, organised by Brighton RMT
Tuesday 7th August Brighton Stop the Cuts Organising Meeting
7:30pm King and Queen. NHS camaign, Council Tax benefit cuts, preparing for September demos +more.

Saturday 1st September Queers Against Cuts Brighton Pride Block
Join the Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/343892565688313/

Sunday 9th September Lobby the TUC for Co-ordinated Strike Action Against Austerity!
Organised by National Shop Stewards Network
A march to the lobby will begin at 1pm at the Level.
A rally addressed by Mark Serwotka and Bob Crow will follow the lobby.

Saturday 22nd September No to Austerity Government! Lib Dem Conference Demonstration
Meet at the Level Midday then march to Conference Centre. Organised by Stop the Cuts and the Trades Council

Saturday 20th October. Mass TUC Demo, London,
A reserved train is being co-ordinated by the Trades Council
Contact your own union branch in the first instance to book a place.
Non-union member booking info to follow

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National Week of Action Against Workfare: July 7th to 14th

On Saturday we will be kicking off the National Week of Action Against Workfare by visiting some of the worst offenders in our city, including Holland & Barrett.

Workfare isn’t just slave labour for the unemployed and the destruction of the social wage.  It is an attack on all workers – on their jobs, pay and conditions, & their ability to organise.  We need to fight workfare together, whether or not we are in work, whether or not we are on benefits.

Invite your friends, family, organisations & union branches. Bring placards, banners, noise makers & musical instruments.  Take part in the chain gang.

Join us in saying NO to workfare!  Join us in naming & shaming the businesses & charities who are putting profit before people!

FRIDAY 13 JULY:  PICKET OF A4E BRIGHTON

Meet 11am at the Clock Tower for a picket of infamous private providers A4E in Queens Road.

If you are unable to make the picket, join the communications blockade by emailing/calling A4E to talk to them about workfare.

Further information at:

http://brightonbenefitscampaign.wordpress.com/

http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1154

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Local Action against Cuts and Privatisation this week.
As you can see there is no shortage of events to support and campaigns to get involved in….

Tuesday 22nd
Staff and students at the University of Sussex will be protesting against plans to privatise university’s support services.
There will be protests on Tuesday (22 May) and Thursday (24 May) at 1pm at the university’s library. On both days potential bidders will visit the campus to assess ways they could take over the running of the affected departments If you haven’t yet please sign the petition here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-our-services

Wednesday 23rd
Demo called by PCS union in defence of DVLA jobs. Opposite the Prince Albert pub in Trafalgar Street, 12.30 to 13.30, Supporters very welcome.

Thursday 24th
NUT and NASUWT members at Sussex Downs College are taking strike action against cuts.
This action will centre around Park College in Eastbourne, pickets from 8am.
Please send messages of support to secretary@lewes-eastbourne-and-wealden.nut.org.uk

And at 1pm the second demo in Library Square Sussex Uni and finally a free Folk Against Facism Gig at Hydrant 8pm

Saturday 26th
How Do We Break Workfare: National Conference
11:00am until 5:00pm The Railway Club (just off Dyke Road)
Invitation to campaigns, trade unions, voluntary groups & all who oppose workfare!

Other Events….

NSSN
Saturday 9th June National Shop Stewards Network 6th Annual Conference 11am Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London Speakers Include Mark Serwotka, Bob Crow. Contact jon_redford@hotmail.co.uk for details

Keep Our NHS Public
National conference on fighting the NHS reforms in London at the Friends Centre in Euston, starting at 10:30am on the June 23rd.
Next Brighton KONHSP meeting 8 Tower Road at 7pm Monday 25th of June.

Jubilee!
Before festivities begin around the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee, you are cordially invited to join our Great British Street Party in Crawley Town centre on the 26th of May at midday

Also… Never mind the jubilee – it’s the Great Brighton Street Party – Community Spirit Uncut!
Saturday, June 2, 2012 12:00pm The Clock Tower

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Internet Privacy Petition Pro-choice demo + More

Hi all,
As ever a big list of activities coming up. Sign here against internet snooping laws! Sign to oppose the big brother bill http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_big_brother_law_a/?vl
And if you campaign group or union branch can field a six-a-side football team for the may day competition then get practising… Details below.
Upcoming…

Thursday 5th Apri,  Smash EDO presents
Stop the Attack on Afghanistan and the Prospect of Strikes on Iran
7pm, Friends Meeting House Ship Street, Brighton
With Guest Speakers: Maya Evans – Long-time Hastings peace activist who recently returned
from solidarity work in Afghanistan. + Dr Kamran Matin – Lecturer in Internal Relations at Sussex university talks on Iran + Plus a speaker from Smash EDO

Sunday 15th April, 10am. CARNIVAL FOR CHOICE! Pro-Choice rally and march in Worthing!

We have called for a carnival for choice on this day as we are extremely alarmed at the continuation of US-styled anti-choice protests that have been happening outside abortion clinics in the UK.

One of the targets, both of the current ’40 days for life’ campaign and a sustained bi-weekly protest is a BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) Clinic in Brighton.
The group organising these protests outside the clinic is the aptly named ‘Abort67′ -a group that wants to make abortion illegal, regardless of circumstance, who are from Worthing, and supported and facilitated by a local church see http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/content/view/452/110/. They use extreme graphic images of aborted foetuses on large boards and banners, film on cameras, and have been known to call women murderers and physically encircle them.

Starting at Worthing High School, where they congregate on a Sunday, and heading into the centre of town for a spectacular finale. Bring placards, instruments, your friends and a smile!

Tuesday, April 17, How should we oppose racism and fascism? UAF Meeting
7:00pm Conference room South Wing Community Base 113 Queens Road

Sunday 22nd April Oppose the EDL March For England 12 noon More info http://stopmfe.wordpress.com/

Saturday 5th May May Day Cricket Match fundraising for Brighton Benefits and Stop the Cuts (players wanted)
Sunday 6th May Womens’ and Mens’ six-a-side football tournament sat Manor Hall (teams needed:  can your group get one together?) Email Felton f.c.shortall@lycos.com to play or enter a team in either event.

Saturday 9th June National Shop Stewards Network 6th Annual Conference 11am Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London
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Emergency Save the NHS Protest

KILL THE BILL
Meet Hove Town Hall 3:30pm Saturday 17th March

The Health and Social Care Bill is expected to be in Parliament on 19th March. This bill still represents a huge step towards the privatisation of our NHS. Health workers don’t want it, patients don’t want it, we must say NO!
We will be protesting outside the Tory Party Office in Hove, please make an effort to join us.
The government must see the opposition to this incredibly unpopular and destructive bill.
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