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FOR public services - AGAINST privatisation in all its forms

John Nicholson



The meeting of People Not Profits, on Tuesday 17th May 2005, heard a wide range of election views and experiences. From Greens to Socialists, from those who voted Liberal Democrat to remove awful Labour MPs to those who voted for the Workers Revolutionary Party because there was no-one else to record a protest vote, from Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Walsall and London, there were no fewer than 11 different parties and candidates who had been supported by those present at the meeting.

But the irony of the recent election was noted - despite public services supposedly being a major issue, the funding and control of public services never came under the microscope. All three major parties were in agreement with the neo-liberalisation and deregulation of services and all the major media failed to give coverage to the progressive parties and candidates who were committed to defending - and expanding - public transport, health, education, housing.

The result? Immediately after the election we see the government accelerating its drive to put vital health services into private hands.

The discussion noted:
- that the BNP plus UKIP plus Veritas secured significant votes and the threat of fascism must always be countered strongly
- that unions in the public sector were campaigning for Labour while their own union policies were opposed to all that Labour was now putting forward; union branches were moribund, unions were business unions (offering credit and discounts but no campaigns) and were even dominated by high paid managers (now one in seven of the working population), but the election of Matt Wrack to General Secretary of the FBU and the campaign of the RMT to renationalise the railways showed that progressive support was possible
- that Respect had made some magnificent gains - and Galloway was giving Blair and the US Senate a good kicking; this could not be ignored, but the rest of the left needed to unite, locally and nationally (possibly through the re-creation of a socialist alliance)
- that all the progressive organisations needed to tackle the democratic deficit that had handed Blair a majority on just 20% of the electorate
- that the Lib Dems gained support for (apparent) policies of taxing the very rich and opposing the war
- that the left should be organised across Europe, and the EU constitution should be opposed by a campaign from the left
- that there is more to life than elections, and we need to unite around campaigning issues, here and now - and although the history of the SWP/Respect leadership's destruction of the former Socialist Alliance needed to be recognised and understood, bridges now need to be built on the left, including between Respect and all other progressive/green/left groups and individuals;
- and so, locally, we can campaign - against fascism, against nuclear weapons/nuclear power commitments the government is now making, against the EU constitution, and in favour of the environment, migration and public services.

The meeting therefore agreed to:

* PRODUCE a second peoplenotprofits BULLETIN

* SPEAK AT the Centre for Democratic Policy Making/Red Pepper conference (Conference June 4-5th, Workshop for the Charter for Public Services of PeopleNotProfits to be 12.00 on Sunday 5th - Paul Gerrard to speak - all welcome)

* SUPPORT the No One Is Illegal  Conference in Manchester Saturday June 25th (Chapel St) (more details on website www.noii.org.uk or info@noii.org.uk)

* SUPPORT the Sefton Unison stewards facing discipline for opposing privatisation - contact details from Sefton Unison office (especially relevant for Unison members)

NEXT MEETINGS - Tuesday 21st June and Tuesday 19th July - Friends Meeting House, Mount St, Manchester

People not Profits is a group of socialists in the Greater Manchester area committed to fighting privatisation - a Charter for Public Services has been produced and a first bulletin circulated widely.

Contact: People Not Profits, PO Box 200, Manchester M21 9YD or peoplenotprofits@yahoo.co.uk
 

May 2005

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